Notes: Dulce de leche is a caramel made by cooking milk with sugar until the mixture is reduced to a thick amber syrup. You can make the sauce up to 1 week ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving. If time is short, buy prepared dulce de leche at a Latino market.
6 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup dark-roasted coffee beans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 1 cup dulce de leche (recipe follows; see notes) or purchased caramel sauce
How to Make It
In a bowl, beat egg yolks to blend.
In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine milk, cream, sugar, and coffee beans; stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is simmering. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 30 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard coffee beans. Rinse pan, return milk mixture to it, and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into egg yolks; pour yolk mixture into pan. Stir constantly over low heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 4 to 6 minutes; do not boil.
Pour into a clean bowl and chill, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 2 hours; if desired, cover and chill up to 1 day.
Stir rum and vanilla into custard. Freeze mixture in a 1-quart or larger ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Serve, or transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours, or up to 1 week. Scoop into bowls and top with dulce de leche.
Dulce de Leche. In a heavy 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir 4 cups whole milk and 1 1/4 cups sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally with a flexible spatula, until mixture is golden brown and reduced to about 2 cups, about 1 1/2 hours. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard residue. Makes 2 cups.
One word: FABULOUS. I made this for a party of Latin friends ..absolutely, positively will make this again. A couple of suggestions:
1. You can actually make dulce de leche by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk in a water bath for 1 1/2 hour. The trick, however, is to always keep it submerged in water. Common method in Latin households.
2. I used instant espresso coffee powder..Cafe Bustelo..the #1 selling brand among Cubans in Miami where I live. You can buy it in a grocery store. Then you don't need to chop beans and strain them. I used about 1/2 cup (as I doubled the recipe) but you could use it to taste. "Strong" coffee beans aren't just the same as real Cuban espresso coffee.
3. Skip the rum and use coffee liquer instead