It's that time of the year when my thoughts turn to maple. And then I get a bit sad, because other than topping my waffles and sweetening my braised red cabbage, maple doesn't get the love in my kitchen that it deserves. Especially when there's so much of the good stuff at farmers' markets right now. (I like you too root veggies, but in this gloomy Snowvember you're all Deckhand Cally and maple's Lt. Valerii.*)
* I mean, who really liked Cally in BSG?
So. Maple. What else can you use it for? To start, think about the pies you're making right now: pumpkin, apple, maybe pecan? Would any of those not be improved by some maple? The thing is, you've worked hard to get that right balance of sweetness in your pie, and dumping on some syrup would throw it out of whack. So consider something a little more balanced and restrained, tempered and enriched by dairy: ice cream.
Maple ice cream carries all the dark, moody complexities of maple syrup, but in a more versatile form. It's a quick dessert on its own, an impressive pie topper, and—a hint—it's awesome on French toast.
I've tackled the maple ice cream question before, but that recipe was all about the delicate balance of maple sweetness with refreshing rosemary depth. This recipe goes straight for the maple jugular, all maple all the time. And it does so with even less maple syrup, giving you more of the bottle to drizzle over the top, or to hit up those waffles and that pot of cabbage.
One thing you can't skimp on is the salt. A full teaspoon of Kosher salt may sound like a lot, but maple's sweet enough to handle it. You'll really want to bring out the fullest expression of maple flavor in the ice cream; less will just leave it sweet, but bland when buried under all that cold and dairy fat.
- Yield:makes about 1 quart
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time:1 hour, plus an overnight chill
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup cream
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and maple syrup until well-combined. Whisk in cream and half and half, then set over medium heat. Whisking frequently, cook until a custard forms on the back of a spoon but a swiped finger leaves a clean line, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in salt and strain into an airtight container. Chill overnight, or at least six hours.
The next day, churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Return to airtight container and chill in freezer for at least three hours before serving.