Friday, February 4, 2011

Maple Walnut Ice Cream


Yes, I realize it’s early February and it’s snowing like crazy in many places! But this is some serious ice cream. It’s the old fashioned reliable marriage of maple and toasted walnuts and it’s really fabulous. If you're a fan of these ingredients you will be in heaven at the very first bite.

Maple syrup is a quintessentially American product that takes us back to the days before the early settlers arrived on our shores and Native Americans were tapping into the amber golden sap. They eventually traded it with the colonists and its use became widespread. Known primarily as a sweet breakfast condiment, maple syrup also finds its way into the world of pastry in many forms.

This ice cream formulation comes from David Lebovitz and it’s loaded with deliciousness. You usually have to prepare a maple syrup reduction to concentrate the flavor for desserts. But not so with this recipe. You just add a good quality syrup to the custard after it's been cooked. Lots of earthy toasted walnuts are also tossed in a warmed maple syrup punched up with a good dose of salt. When it all comes together you have a wonderfully rich ice cream with the right depth of maple flavor and creamy crunchy texture.

I know it’s cold outside. But put on a sweater and make this ice cream as soon as you can. It will be delicious company until the roads are clear, the sun is shining and the birds of spring arrive once again.

Bench notes:
- Maple syrup is graded light amber, medium amber (Grade A) or dark amber (Grade B). The darker the syrup, the deeper the flavor. Use dark syrup for this ice cream if you can.
- Be sure to toast the walnuts for maximum flavor. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are slightly darkened and there is a toasty aroma.
- Salt is very important to pop the maple flavor in this ice cream, so be a bit generous and taste as you go.
- The walnut mixture should be made just before you're going to churn the ice cream to preserve the crunchy texture of the nuts. It should be cool enough to add to the ice cream but still sticky.




Maple Walnut Ice Cream with Wet Walnuts
adapted from Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 quart

1 1/2 C whole milk
2 T sugar
1 1/2 C heavy cream
5 egg yolks
3/4 C dark amber maple syrup
1/8 t salt
1/4 t vanilla

Wet Walnuts
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 C + 1 T dark maple syrup
1 1/2 C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
big pinch of salt

Warm milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the warm milk to the egg yolks, whisking constantly to combine, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Return to medium low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer into the heavy cream and stir to cool. Add maple syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir to combine and taste for the right level of salt. Pour into an airtight container and chill thoroughly.

For the walnuts, heat the maple syrup until it just begins to come to a full boil. Stir in the walnuts and salt and cook until the liquid comes to a full boil again. Stir the mixture for 10 seconds, then remove from the heat and let cool completely before using. The nuts will be sticky when cooled.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the walnut mixture. Pour into a clean airtight container, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.

25 comments:

Victoria said...

YUM.

Finally, something that those of us in colder climes can make without hesitation.

Thank you.

Scoala Machiaj said...

This ice-cream looks incredible. So what if it’s February? I noticed that my cravings for ice-cream are more frequent during the winter period than in summer. But since I have a cold, I guess I will have to abstain from ice-cream. I can’t wait to get better!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Hi! New to your blog today. I am working on a fun project and was wondering if you'd like to share a recipe for it.

Can you e-mail me at slim-shoppin@comcast.net and I'll give you the details?

Thanks!

Jenn

Barbara said...

It is never the wrong season for ice cream! Beautiful recipe...although I know you won't mind if I substitute pecans...

LimeCake said...

I could eat ice cream anytime of year, regardless of the season. This looks delicious!

maryb said...

Although this already sounds sublime..... I think I will make a double batch of the nuts..... so half will be for sprinkling on top, AFTER some warm caramel sauce is drizzled over! Now that makes it WINTERIZED!!!!

pastry studio said...

Love all you die hard ice cream fans!

Barbara, I almost went with pecans but changed my mind at the last minute so we are on the same page, friend!

maryb, I see you are way ahead of me on this!

Elly said...

This looks amazing! I can't resist the combination of nuts and maple syrup...can't wait to try it out!

alexandtheweb said...

For some reason I always have trouble getting the amazing taste/scent of maple syrup to jump out in recipes. But I think this ice cream might just do the trick! Lovely recipe, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I have a general question about ice-cream making. Usually it is hard to consume all the ice cream at once, and one has to store it in the deep-freeze, after which the ice cream becomes hard as stone (since the home-made ice cream does not have the stabilizers in the commercial one). And even if you put it at room temp for a while to soften, it is hard to get it soften uniformly, usually it becomes almost liquid on the surface until one can really scoop it out in the middle...

I don't know, I am a scientist actually but I cannot find a good solution :( -do you have a trick how to store ice cream for a longer time and still enjoy it afterwards with a nice consistency?

pastry studio said...

Anonymous, that's actually a very good question. Homemade ice cream is usually made in small batches. I tend to pack my ice cream into containers that are broader and shallower rather than deep. Depending on the sugar levels in the ice cream, after just a couple of minutes, the ice cream is scoop-able without being too soft. Also, I always press a piece of plastic wrap into the surface to help keep ice crystals from forming.

I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks. I think making small batches is the real solution. What I really regret is, I have a kind of machine that does not cool itself (you have to put the bowl in the freezer some 12 hours before), therefore I can never really make a bit of chocolate and a bit of vanilla ice cream at the same time, for example, since the bowl is already too warm after the first batch:( otherwise making ice cream is pure pleasure, summer or winter:)) I have already fallen severely in love with your oatmeal and strawberry ice creams:)))

pastry studio said...

Anonymous, I have the same type of ice cream machine. It's a Cuisinart and I love it but yes, you have to limit your ice cream making to one at a time! I have surprised myself by seriously falling in love with making ice cream. So glad you enjoyed the Oatmeal. It's pretty good. And if you enjoyed the Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream, try the Oatmeal Ice Cream with a few tiny drops of balsamic on top of your scoop!

I'm driving myself crazy at the moment working on an Earl Grey Sherbet. I have the flavor perfect but the texture still needs work. So much fun!

Anonymous said...

oh, I love Earl-grey:) I just made carrot-raisin ice cream (my own recipe:)))) it has such a great color any so so yummy! I was just too dissappointed that after overnight-freezing I couldn't eat it for breakfast because it was too hard:))) Now I am thinking how I can transform my jar of rose marmalade to ice cream...

thanks for the good tips! who can wait for the coming of strawberries now?

pastry studio said...

Oh wow, Carrot Raisin sounds really good. I'll have to think about that some more! I love your spirit for taking whatever you have on hand and turning it into glacé. Once you get a feel for the right balance of fat and sugar, texture and flavor, the world is your oyster!

Anonymous said...

I entirely agree! I have so many ideas once the spring comes, like feta-strawberry and red currant-bay leaf and maybe something with sunflower seeds inside... I'll keep you up-to-date:)

pastry studio said...

Very cool!

justin said...

Oh my goodness, I have just found your blog and I think I love it. I will try this at my home.

Eating places said...

Wow this looks absolutely good and probably taste delicious

Sprinzette said...

Wow - I've always been scared of making ice-cream, but this looks fantastic. May have to explore. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

restaurants said...

Maple Walnut Ice Cream is very delicious really.This is absolutely good.

Samantha said...

That sounds like a fantastic idea.

Anna said...

Your food photos are amazing! I’ve been lurking on your blog for awhile and finally thought I’d say something…. your photography is excellent.

Hannah said...

That sounds like a fantastic idea.

Brilynn said...

Ice Cream is good regardless of the season! Sap is almost starting to run here, can't wait for fresh maple syrup!