There are many different kinds of burns that one might sustain in the kitchen. Steam burns. Oil spatters. Boiling water that you pour out into the sink but a dirty dish is at just the right angle that it splashes all over yourself. Hot sheet pans that brand stripes into your forearms. Metal pot handles that (surprise!) get as hot as the pan itself. I could go on.
But the worst kind of burn, by far, is the caramel burn. That shit sticks like glue and will cause you a world of pain for as long as it remains adhered. I have some experience with this, meaning that the part of my brain responsible for storing memories is permanently blistered and raw. So when I saw a recipe for burnt caramel gelato from Sally Sampson’s book, Recipe of the Week: Ice Cream, I thought, finally, an opportunity to get caramel back.
If you’ve ever had the burnt caramel ice cream at Toscanini’s, then you know how creamy and sweet and bitter that flavor is all at once. There’s something very coffee-like about the way that bitterness asserts itself in the finish, and it’s similarly addictive. So, between that and my persistent grudge, I took great pleasure in burning that caramel. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any more burnt, I burned it some more. Take that. And that!
The recipe is here if you’re interested. I strongly suggest you make it. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, well, I know someone who’s making a list and checking it twice!
And while we’re on the subject of painful burns: as part of my pledge to humor no more than one PR person per year from all of the unsolicited e-mails I get, 2008’s lucky winner is Amy Gan of Phyllis Klein. Because burns are no laughing matter (except today on my blog), and every day that goes by that Burn Jel Plus is not in my medicine cabinet is another day to feel guilty. Usually because I’ve just burned myself. Apparently, it’s based on the same stuff that firefighters and the military use. I’ll be checking in with my firefighter sources to confirm this. If I can just reach the phone, 9-1-…