No Ice Cream Machine Needed for this Frozen Caramel Dessert
This dessert features a rich, smooth frozen caramel cream, layered with whiskey soaked purchased ladyfingers and served with a warmed whiskey accented bittersweet chocolate sauce. No ice cream machine needed here and this frozen dessert couldn’t be easier to put together. The cold caramel cream contrasts with the warm chocolate sauce and makes an elegant plated dessert. The alcohol is not cooked off in either the soaking syrup or the sauce, so save this for adults. The dessert is formed in a soufflé dish and just comes above the rim, which is why you need to add the parchment collar. Also, note that the flavor of the finished caramel cream depends on the depth of color of the caramel that you make initially, so do not rush that step. You might think you are burning the sugar at that stage, and you are, but don’t worry, it will give you the flavor you crave.
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- Scant 1 cup water
- 3½ cups heavy cream, divided (1 ¼ cups at room temperature and 2 ¼ cups chilled)
- 1, 3 ounce package soft 3-inch ladyfingers (found in bakery sections of well-stocked supermarkets)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons Scotch whiskey
- ½ recipe Dark Chocolate Ganache, made with 60% bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons Scotch whiskey
- For the Frozen Cream: Place the sugar and water in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to moisten the sugar and cook over a medium-high heat, without stirring, until the syrup begins to color. Wash down the sides of the pot once or twice with a damp pastry brush if necessary. When the syrup is a medium amber color, watch closely as the color will deepen quickly. Within the next minute or so the caramel will turn a very dark mahogany brown, the bubbles will turn tan in color and wisps of smoke might appear. Immediately remove from heat and swirl pot to dissipate heat. Place down on cool burner and slowly pour in the room temperature 1 ¼ cups cream. The mixture may bubble up furiously. Just let the bubbling subside and whisk until smooth. Scrape into a large mixing bowl and cool to room temperature. You can whisk occasionally to dissipate heat.
- Meanwhile, wrap a parchment paper collar around the lip of a 1 ½ quart soufflé dish (about 8-inches across x 3 ½-inches high). Tape the pieces of parchment together. Have the collar extend about 2-inches above the rim of the dish and make sure it is snug against the dish. Make sure you have a flat area in the freezer large enough for the dish.
- For the Syrup: Place sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, swirling pan to help sugar dissolve. Cool to room temperature and stir in whiskey; set aside.
- For the Assembly: Once the caramel is at room temperature, whip remaining chilled 2 ¼ cups of cream just until soft peaks form. Fold a scant quarter of the whipped cream into the caramel to lighten it, then fold in remaining cream until thoroughly combined. Scoop about one-third of the caramel/cream mixture into the bottom of the soufflé dish, and spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Arrange a single layer of ladyfingers over surface, bottom side up, and brush thoroughly with whiskey syrup mixture. Top with another third of caramel/cream, a final layer of ladyfingers brushed with syrup and finish with layer of remaining caramel/cream. Smooth top and freeze overnight. Once it is frozen, cover top with plastic wrap. Freeze up to 3 days.
- To Serve: Have ganache warm and fluid and whisk in the whiskey. Unwrap collar from soufflé dish and discard. Present dessert at the table or simply scoop frozen caramel cream out onto plates or bowls and serve with sauce over and around. Serve immediately.
- When whipping the cream, make sure not to over-beat. A soft silky cream will give you a smooth finished product. If your cream is over-whipped the final dessert will suffer.
- Arrange the ladyfingers rounded top-side down, flat bottom-side up because that side will absorb the whiskey syrup best.