Recipe: Maple Ice Cream With Pecan Praline

Recipe: Maple Ice Cream With Pecan Praline

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Who says ice cream should only be for summer? Maple syrup, to me, epitomizes warm, autumn flavors and this easy, delicious maple syrup ice cream with crunchy pecan praline is one of the best ice cream flavours out there. Plus, it is brilliant with a slice of creamy pumpkin pie as your Thanksgiving dessert.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

We celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in Canada, and I am always looking for fun and unusual desserts to add to my repertoire, along with pumpkin pie. Last year, my pumpkin pie ice cream was a huge hit, and this year it's going to be this maple syrup ice cream. My test batch disappeared pretty quickly — so much so, that I had to make a second batch so I could get photographs to share!

Maple syrup is one of my favorite ingredients. I drizzle it over everything, from pancakes to bacon to roasted parsnips. Truly, what's not to love when it comes to this versatile syrup? I use a dark grade for this recipe, which really increases the maple-y intensity of the ice cream. You can very easily replace the pecans with walnuts or any other nut, if you wish, as the method for making the praline is the same.

If you want to go a little offbeat, you could try serving this ice cream with shards of this chocolate caramel matzo brittle, or plain peanut brittle. You can also keep it simple, without any nuts, if there are any allergies in the family.

Whichever way you serve it, I can guarantee that this will be as much of a hit in your household as it is in mine.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Maple Ice Cream With Pecan Praline

Serves 6 to 8 (makes 1 quart)

1 cup half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
6 egg yolks
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 cup maple syrup
A pinch of sea salt

For the praline:
1 cup pecans
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the half-and-half, whole milk, and sugar in a saucepan, and gently warm until hot, but not boiling. Place the egg yolks in a separate large bowl, and whisk. Pour in the hot milk and cream mixture in a slow, steady stream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until combined.

Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan, and place over a medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the custard is thick and creamy. Do not let the custard boil, or it the eggs will coagulate. Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream and maple syrup in a separate large bowl and place a strainer over top. When the custard mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, take it off the heat and strain into the heavy cream and maple syrup. Add a pinch of salt, then stir together until well combined.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the mixture, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 4 to 6 hours.

To make the pecan praline, toast the pecans with the salt in a saucepan over high heat until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 1 minute. In another pan, heat the water and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and is just beginning to turn golden. Add the pecans and stir until the mixture turns sandy. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and wait until the sugar starts melting again. Keep stirring until the pecans all are nicely coated with the sticky sugar mixture and lightly golden. Turn out onto greased aluminum foil. Cool completely, then roughly chop.

When your ice cream mixture is completely chilled, churn in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions. In the last minute of churning, add the pecan pralines, reserving a few for garnish. Freeze the ice cream until firm, several hours or overnight.

Recipe Notes

  • If the eggs start to coagulate while you're cooking the custard, do not panic. Immediately strain into a clean pan to get rid of any egg bits, and reheat to start the process again.
  • The pecan praline will keep in an airtight tin for up to a week.
  • This ice cream goes really well with pumpkin pie.
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