maple walnut ice cream

Last weekend, Pastor Mike started off the sermon with,

“I just wanted you all to know that I put my flip-flops away. I stowed them away on the top shelf, never to be seen again for the rest of the year. This marks the end of summer for me.”

Well Mike, I’ll have you know that I’m still wearing my flip-flops each morning to and from the gym. I still haven’t given up on summer yet. But for me, the end of summer is marked by the stashing away my ice cream canister into some dark corner of my closet. Since I haven’t done that yet, I guess that means I’m still in summer mode?

Then again, the chimney sweeper came today. Perhaps that means I’ll find myself snuggling next to the fireside with no, not a hot cup of cocoa, but with a gigantic bowl of heart-warming ice cream!

I can see myself doing that with this ice cream… It’s the wet walnuts that do it. Completely drench in maple syrup with a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel. Oh man.

MW ice cream!

This is ice cream literally melts my heart. The first bite was nostalgic of the time I carved a pumpkin. The second bite reminded me of the time I had that pecan pie slice at the Santa Monica Farmer’s market. The third bite? That brought me back to the time I first discovered Grade B maple syrup at whole Foods.

Yes, this ice cream brings me back to all of that.

Depending on the maple syrup you use can change this ice cream drastically. So let us discuss the grades of maple syrup below.

There are two types of maple syrup. And no, I’m not talking about the kind that your Aunt Jemima has. I’m talking about the type you shell out $12+ for at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Quality doesn’t come cheap here.

  • Grade A: Lighter and broken down into different ambers.
  • Grade B: Darker, stronger, and thicker. aka, more expensive.

If possible, you’ll want to use Grade B for that rich, maple flavor. If not, Grade A will suffice but under no conditions should you use imitation syrup. That stuff is just loaded with chemicals and flavors, which will not enhance the flavor of the ice cream in any way.

maple walnut diptych

So while the base of the ice cream has some brief notes of maple, the bulk of the flavor is a sensual vanilla flavor. But add in those “wet” walnuts and you have yourself a winner. I finished off the maple covered walnuts with some Fleur de Sel and it only made the ice cream that much more amazing.

The following recipe makes about 1 quart. Even after when you freeze it for a week, it still has that soft, scoop-able consistency. The trick I’ve learned is to let the ice cream machine churn for an extra 3-5 minutes to incorporate all that air in. That way, the ice cream will stay airy and soft upon freezing.

last scoops

Maple Walnut Ice Cream with Wet Walnuts
The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup dark amber maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe:

Warm the milk and sugar in a pot. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, slowly pour the warm milk/sugar into the yolks, whisking constantly to temper the yolks. Scrap the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Continue cooking over medium heat and stir constantly with a heatproof spatula. When the consistency becomes like a custard, pour through a strainer and stir it into the cream to cool. Add the maple syrup, salt, vanilla, and stir until cool. Place in the fridge for 4-8 hours (or even overnight).

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the directions. While the ice cream is churning, prepare the wet walnuts.

Wet Walnuts Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
  • Big pinch of Fleur de Sel

Heat the maple syrup in a skillet until it starts bubbling. Add in the walnuts and coat them generous. Stir for about 10 seconds and remove from the heat. Sprinkle some Fleur de Sel and let cool completely.

Stir in the wet walnuts a minute before the ice cream finishes churning. Save some to top off when serving.