fat free opinions on a food centric life

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Salted Almond Brittle & Pound Cake

I’m convinced there’s nothing quite like being under the weather for four whole days to put myself behind in all the expectations I had of posting a series of savory recipes in a logical and timely manner.  So much for best laid plans.  But I’m raring to go now, and taking pity on you for having to look at carne asada for days and days.  I decided a treat was in order instead.

I apologize that it’s not low in calories.

But I saw a few recipes that I just couldn’t resist putting my own little touch on.  You understand.  I know you do.

And then, there is that salt I purchased not too long ago…Img_7200

It all started with the January 2008 issue of bon appetit, Best of the Year.  It was their Flavor of the Year choice that many other cooking publications soon followed: brown butter.  If there is anything that could be as heavenly as butter, it would be brown butter.  Oh my.  One of my very favorite dishes is pasta with brown butter and mizithra.  Wait.  Make that sage and brown butter on pasta.  But that wouldn’t be the treat I mentioned above.  No.

Days went by.  Maybe weeks.  Or was it that the days just felt like weeks?  Whatever.  But one day as I was lurking around David Lebowitz’ website I nearly swooned when I saw his recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream.

I wondered whether I’d actually read salt and caramel, and butter in the same phrase.  With ice cream?  Oh.  My.  The only possible thing that could make this better is…

…you guessed it.

Brown Butter.  In fact, Brown Butter Ice Cream.

With pound cake.  And not just any pound cake.  It’s buttery, and light.  It’s so moist and has the finest crumb.

I’m really sorry about the calories.  Truly I am.  But I couldn’t resist.  And do you know what’s worse?  Now that I’ve tried it, I can think of so many ways to make it even better.

Party on.  With food, of course.


Brown Butter Ice Cream with Salted Almond Brittle with Sherry Yard’s Pound Cake

Make the pound cake first:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. + 2 T granulated sugar
4 lg. eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1-3/4 c. cake flour sifted 3 x
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and make sure your baking rack is centered in your oven.  Prepare a loaf pan (9x5x3-inch) by spraying with oil and lining the bottom with parchment.  Spray the parchment as well.

Pre-measure all ingredients ahead of time.  Sift the cake flour with the baking powder and salt so they are well mixed.

In the bowl of a standing mixer using a paddle attachment, beat butter on high speed until creamy — at least a minute. While the mixer is running, slowly pour the sugar into the bowl over a 5 minute period of time.  You will notice that the mixture becomes very light and fluffy-looking during this process.  Scrape down the bowl when you are finished. 

Add eggs one at a time making sure to run the mixer each time until the egg is completely incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl each time you finish.

Then, slowly add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer running on low.  Add the salt and mix well.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes keeping an eye on the top so that it won’t brown too deeply.

Remove from oven when a wooden pick inserted is removed clean.  Cool briefly in the pan on a baking rack before turning out to cool completely on the rack.

Notes:  This is the Master Pound Cake from Yard’s The Secrets of Baking book.  I’ve made two pound cake recipes now, and can say that it’s worth it to whip the sugar into the butter on high as directed.  The resulting bread is so light and airy, it cuts and toasts beautifully.  If you have trouble with the idea of adding the sugar over the expected period of time, set a timer.  Be warned if you don’t have a shield on your mixer, though.  The sugar does blow around!

This recipe comes together extremely quickly, so is perfect to put into the oven while busying yourself with other things.


Make the Salted Almond Brittle next:

1/2 c. extra fine sugar (caster sugar, baker’s sugar)
3/4 tsp. Fleur de Sel
1/4 c. coarsely chopped almonds

It is extremely important to have everything ready for this recipe.  Prepare a baking pan by lining it with a silicone mat or by lightly oiling it.  Make sure the pan and salt are right next to the pan you’ll be cooking the sugar in.

Spread sugar in a pan evenly over medium heat.  As the edges begin to melt, use a silicone spatula to lightly push the unmelted sugar toward the melted parts to make sure all is dissolved.  Stay with the pan, watching it closely until the sugar is a rich caramel color, just barely, slightly beginning to smoke and getting ready to burn. 

Immediately, sprinkle the salt over the surface without stirring, then quickly pour onto the prepared baking pan.  Pick up the baking pan and move around to allow the caramel to run and spread as much as possible.  Quickly sprinkle the chopped almonds over the brittle before it hardens.  Set aside to cool.


Now, make the ice cream:

6 T unsalted butter
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
6 lg. egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. vanilla
crushed salted almond brittle


Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat, cooking until the butter turns a dark amber color, making sure to stir once in a while.  Make sure it doesn’t burn.  Pour it through a very fine strainer to remove the dark brown residue.  Set aside.

Prepare a bowl with an ice bath.  You’ll pour the heated custard into this.  (See notes)

Whisk egg yolks, sugars, and salt in a large bowl until it is thick and well blended.  Meanwhile, heat milk and heavy cream over a medium heat in a large sauce pan until simmering.

Add the brown butter to the egg yolk mixture.  Then pour a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring quickly.  Pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, again stirring quickly as you pour.  Using either a candy thermometer you can attach to the pan or an instant-read thermometer, heat mixture until it reaches 178 degrees F, about 5 minutes or less.


Strain the custard into a large bowl before setting into the prepared ice bath and stirring frequently until cold.  Stir in vanilla.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. 

Crush the salted almond brittle using a rolling pin, making sure large pieces are reserved for serving if you wish.

Add the crushed brittle to the ice cream mixer slowly during the very last few seconds of mixing.  Scrape into a container that can be sealed well and placed in a freezer for at least one hour before serving.

To serve:

Slice the pound cake and dollop ice cream over.  If you reserved and pieces of salted almond brittle, sprinkle over the top.


Notes: To prepare an ice bath my way, fill your sink with cold water and add either ice cubes or those refreezable lunch packs and place the bowl you’ll pour the custard in into the sink, weighted down with anything that’s clean until you’re ready to pour.  Classically, an ice bath is a large bowl filled with ice and water, fitted with a smaller bowl.  In my experience, the ice melts, and has to be replaced, so I like the sink idea better.  Plus, you can multi-task (read prepare dinner) while the custard is cooling in the sink, stirring it occasionally…Trust me.  It works.

The crushed brittle in this ice cream is beyond amazing.  It sort of melts in the ice cream and you get this caramelly effect with an occasional crunch from still hard brittle or an almond. 

And the salt?  Ohhhhhh….

The salt.

You have to try this.

How to make it better?  Well, I was dying for sauce.  I know that’s horribly decadent, but still.  I wanted it.  I didn’t get it, of course, because I’m still thinking. 

And why oh why didn’t I make David Lebowitz’ Salted Butte Caramel Ice Cream?  Uh.  Because it required an extensive amount of refrigeration (8 hours).  Now, that isn’t bad unless you’re me, and didn’t plan properly.  I completely plan to make his luscious ice cream and have every sense that I will find what was missing in mine.  Well, except for the brown butter.  Jeez.

As far as my planning goes, just to convince you I’m entirely crazy, I came home from the grocery store at just past noon on a Saturday and made this before putting together a lasagna with a homemade bolognese (I’d made the sauce earlier) and clams in white wine and lemon for starters.  Guests arrived at 6:30.

Fun was had by all.