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In New England, it's Maple Sugaring Season. And with the spring thaw, comes thoughts of what you can do with maple syrup harvested fresh from the trees. And while there's pancakes of course, there's so much more you can do with maple. Case in point, Ice Cream. Amy Traverso, who's the Senior Food Editor at Yankee Magazine and host of Weekends with Yankee on PBS-TV stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about a custard-style maple ice cream that goes nicely with the newly-warming temperatures. To make it, Amy told Tonia she uses a maple syrup-reduction, in other words heating the syrup in the pan, adding cream, salt and pouring over eggs. Whisk the eggs and the mixture and let cool. Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and just add a cone!
Recipe Courtesy Yankee Magazine
Total Time: 60 minutes, plus about 6 hours chilling time Hands-On Time: 40 minutes Yield: About 1 quart
2/3 cup walnut halves
3/4 cup maple syrup
1-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon table salt
First, toast the nuts: Heat your oven to 325° and set a rack to the middle position. Arrange walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Chop and set aside.
In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, bring maple syrup to a simmer over medium heat. Stay close by, as syrup can boil over (reduce heat as necessary). Simmer until syrup is reduced to 1/2 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cream, then milk and salt; reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Whisk about a cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks. Add another cup, whisking constantly, then pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the cream.
Turn the heat to medium-low and cook the custard, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 175° on an instant-read thermometer (this is the point at which it will thicken noticeably). Remove from heat, and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-size bowl. Take a piece of plastic wrap and press it against the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Transfer the custard to the refrigerator and chill until the temperature reaches 35°-40°, about 6 hours or up to overnight. (You may speed up this process by setting the bowl of custard into a larger bowl filled of ice water and stirring to cool it down.)
Pour the chilled custard into your ice-cream maker, leaving 3/4 inch at the top to allow for expansion. Prepare according to freezer instructions. Add walnuts during final 10 minutes of chilling.