When it comes to dessert for the holidays, I like to dare to be a little bit different. We’re going to do a frozen kulfi, which is a frozen Indian dessert similar to a frozen custard or ice-cream. Then, we’re topping it off with a rich pecan caramel sauce for a festive holiday dessert that's similar to a pecan pie sundae.
Place butter in a pan over medium/high heat until melted and brown in color, about 5 minutes. The solids are separating out hitting the pan and caramelizing. This is what flavors the liquid. As it starts to brown it will smell like caramel and the bubbling that you hear from the butter will begin to lessen. Strain the brown butter into another saucepan, reserving the brown bits. To that same saucepan, add the heavy cream and simmer over a low heat just until the cream picks up the brown butter flavors, 2 minutes. Transfer cream to a bowl and refrigerate until ice cold, 2 hours.
When the whipped cream is ice cold, pour it into the bowl of a mixer and beat until it holds a soft peak, 2 minutes. Place back in the refrigerator and continue making the kulfi.
Place egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk into the mixer and whip on medium speed to get to a ribbon stage. Meanwhile, make the caramel by adding water and sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Leave the mixture alone as it cooks until the sugar melts and just starts to caramelize. You’ll know when it’s done when the bubbles on top begin to turn brown, about 5-6 minutes. At the same time, the yolks and sweetened condensed milk are still mixing and when they’re lighter, fluffier and hold their form, they’ll be ready for the sugar/caramel mixture. When the mixture is on, slowly pour the hot caramel into the beating egg yolks. It's important to do this very slowly so the caramel doesn't harden as it goes into the mixture. As the caramel goes in, it slowly cooks the egg yolks. When all of the caramel’s been added, turn the mixer to high and continue beating until the bowl is cool to the touch, another 5-8 minutes.
When the bowl is cool to the touch, the meringue is ready. Fold the chilled whipped cream into the meringue by turning the bowl and using your hand at the same time with a spatula. This will keep the air in the whipped cream. Place the kulfi mixture into a bowl and freeze, 1 hour.
For the pecan caramel sauce - Go back to the pot that has the brown butter and turn the heat to medium. Add the heavy cream, brown sugar and salt. Stir and continue cooking until the brown sugar melts and the butter and heavy cream are all combined. Add the pecans, turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer until it thickens a little, 2 minutes. To serve, place a few scoops of kulfi into a bowl, top with a spoonful of pecan caramel sauce and crumbled shortbread cookies (optional).