When an etude or solo went well in my weekly lesson, my music teacher at the Eastman School, Cherry Beauregard, would so clearly enunciate his compliment — “that was pretty damn good” — I’d almost not notice how inappropriate it was.

Of course, times were a little different then, too.

Mark had never been a student of Cherry’s, but when he finally met him, he’d heard me repeat the compliment for more than five years. After he met Cherry, Mark could parrot him almost perfectly.

It was one of the great private jokes between us.

After I made this ice cream this weekend and took my first bite, I wished Mark was nearby to hear, because it’s Pretty Damn Good.

Caramel Ice Cream

1 1/4 cup sugar, divided

2 cup cream, divided

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 milk

In a wide, heavy bottom saucepan, melt 1 cup of the sugar until it turns amber. Stir until it begins melting, and then swirl to keep it from burning. Add 1 cup of the cream (careful, it can splatter), then remove from heat and stir until caramel dissolves.* Stir in salt and vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature. Whisk eggs with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until frothy, stir in milk and remaining cream. Fold in caramel and freeze.

*Don’t worry if it doesn’t all dissolve at first. It will keep dissolving as it cools. And if a few bits are still there when you start churning they will melt into cool little pockets of caramel in the ice cream.

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