That’s right, folks: An egg is all you need to take your scoop of fudge ripple from fine to sublime!
Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter
The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.
But First, What Are Cured Egg Yolks?
Cured egg yolks are a spinoff of the ancient Chinese practice of preserving whole duck eggs in salt or brine—and are an increasingly popular preparation taken up by chefs around the world.
The egg yolks are typically nestled in salt (and sometimes sugar) for a period of days, which helps draw out much of their moisture, and often followed by a short stint in the oven to further dry them out.
The result is a firm preserved egg yolk that packs an umami punch.
Or, if you don’t want to dry-cure them, you can try soy sauce–cured egg yolks, where the salty soy sauce works in much the same way as the bed of salt. But instead of featuring a uniformly firm dry texture, these yolks have a pleasingly fudgy exterior and a soft and gooey interior. They are a delightful addition to ramen or warm rice.
Desserts IllustratedPart cookbook, part handbook, Desserts Illustrated is the last word on the last (but definitely not the least) course.
So, Why Put Them on Ice Cream?
Salty liquids aren’t the only liquids that can draw moisture from yolks—salty-sweet (or even just sweet) ones can do the same thing. We were intrigued by a dish offered by Smyth Restaurant in Chicago: a yolk lightly cured in salted licorice syrup served over a yogurt meringue. We’re big fans of salted caramel, so why not use a salted caramel sauce to do the same thing?
For even more complexity, we flavor the caramel sauce with bourbon and vanilla beans. A small amount of corn syrup is insurance against crystallization.
We “cure” the yolks in the sauce for at least 6 hours, then serve both over ice cream. The yolks and sauce ooze over the ice cream, providing an unforgettable layer of luxurious, silky richness.
How to Make Salted Bourbon Caramel–Cured Egg Yolks
To truly let the yolk and sauce shine, serve with vanilla ice cream.
- 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
- ½ cup plus ⅓ cup water, divided
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons bourbon, divided
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 vanilla beans, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out (beans and seeds reserved together)
- 6 large eggs
- ice cream
- Combine sugar, ½ cup water, and corn syrup in large saucepan and swirl saucepan until sugar is evenly moistened. Cook over high heat until mixture boils, starts to turn yellow in spots, and registers about 320 degrees F/160 degrees C, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, swirling saucepan occasionally, until mixture turns amber and registers 350 to 360 degrees F/177 to 182 degrees C, 2 to 4 minutes longer.
- Carefully pour ½ cup bourbon, ⅓ cup water, salt, and vanilla beans and seeds into caramel mixture and swirl to incorporate (mixture will bubble and steam). Continue to cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer. Turn off heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon; stir to combine. (Cooking the first addition of bourbon evaporates some alcohol and mellows its flavor. This second addition is added off heat to retain some alcohol bite and add another layer of flavor to the caramel.) Strain caramel through fine-mesh strainer into loaf pan and let cool completely, 45 minutes to 1 hour; discard beans in strainer. (Caramel can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored at room temperature.)
- Working with 1 egg at a time, crack eggs, separate yolks from whites, and carefully transfer yolks to pan with caramel. Wrap pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until yolk exteriors are firm and translucent, at least 6 hours or up to 8 hours, using small spoon to gently flip yolks halfway through.
- Place scoop of ice cream in each of 6 small bowls. Using back of small spoon, make small indentation in center of each scoop. Using small spoon, transfer 1 yolk to each indentation. Drizzle additional caramel over yolks and ice cream as desired. Serve.
TIP: You can use the leftover caramel to cure another batch of egg yolks. Or try the caramel in your coffee or mixed into cocktails.
Are Cured Egg Yolks Raw?
Our salt-cured egg yolks are fully cooked and can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Our soy-sauce and caramel cured yolks are still raw. If you are worried about eating raw egg, in-shell pasteurized eggs can also be used without any changes to the recipe.