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Roasted Pecan Maple Ice cream

Ice cream bases (aka crème anglaise) that I’ve run across use anywhere from 2 to 5 to 8 large egg yolks. Since I’m a fan of anything that Shirley Corriher suggests I decided to follow her recipe in CookWise [1]. It calls for 8 large yolks. Her book is such a wealth of information with another tidbit being the necessity to scald milk but not heavy cream when making crème anglaise. That helps tremendously as ice cold cream speeds up the process of chilling down the finished anglaise.

I continue to use David Lebovitz’s [2] suggestion of starting with room temperature eggs and milk which prevents the need of tempering the eggs in the hot liquid. It works great but you still have to be careful not to go above 175°F on your instant read thermometer otherwise you may scramble the eggs.

Lou Miranda Photography

Of course it’s not necessary to steep the pecans in the milk, but I wanted to extract as much flavor from them as possible. You can absolutely skip this step if time or energy does not allow it.  Either way enjoy the ice cream on it’s own or on your favorite crisp.  The one pictured is made with fresh peaches.

Makes about 1 quart

For crème anglaise:
1 cup (about 3 1/2 oz) pecan halves
1 cup (8 oz) pure maple syrup
1 3/4 cups (14 oz) whole milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
8 large (about 5 oz or 145 grams) egg yolks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, cold
Pinch kosher or sea salt

Place an oven rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F

Place pecan halves in a heavy duty skillet (I used cast iron) and roast for about 15 minutes. While the pecans are in the oven pour  maple syrup in a medium heavy-duty saucepan, place on medium heat and reduce to 3/4 cup.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Pour syrup into a heat proof liquid measuring cup to ensure that it’s at the correct amount. Add or subtract maple syrup as needed to equal 3/4 cup. Set aside.

In the same saucepan add the milk and toasted pecans. Set back on medium heat and bring just to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and allow the pecans to steep in the milk for at least an hour.  Pour mixture over a sieve reserving both the pecans and the milk. Measure the milk to equal 1 1/2 cups adding a little more or less as necessary.  Place the sieve over a large bowl and set bowl in an ice bath.

Return the pecans to the skillet and place back in the oven, stirring occasionally until they become dry, about 30 minutes.

Return the milk to the saucepan and add the salt.  In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Pour the mixture into the pan of milk and place over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula until the anglaise thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the anglaise through the sieve into the bowl set over the ice bath.  Add the cream, maple syrup, and vanilla to the anglaise, stirring to combine and to cool the liquid.  When cool, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the anglaise and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours or preferably up to 12 hours.

Churn the cold anglaise in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add half the chopped maple glazed pecans in the last few minutes or wait and sprinkle them over the top just before serving. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze.

Caramelized Maple Pecans
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Coarse salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
generous 2 cups (about 7 oz) pecans (those that were steeped in the ice cream base and dried, plus another 3 1/2 oz)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in maple syrup, cinnamon, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer (mixture will be frothy), about 3 minutes. Add pecans and toss to coat using a rubber spatula. Cook, stirring, until sauce is syrupy and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract.

Transfer pecan mixture to a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet, and spread into a single layer. Bake until pecans are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack. Stir, and let stand until cool and hardened, about 30 minutes.  Chop into pieces.