I really do love fall – at least the flavors – and, today, the weather. It’s a balmy sixty degrees or so, and perfect weather for ice cream. Well, actually, any day is a perfect day for ice cream, and in fall, why not have ice cream that utilizes some of those traditional autumn tastes? In that spirit, I’ve resolved to remake the caramel ice cream that wouldn’t freeze, but I became sidetracked from that mission on Sunday when I found this recipe, which is very close in flavor to the caramel disaster. I did learn in my reading about ice cream (look, I have a lot going on. Reading about ice cream. Reading about bread. Reading about Apple Pandowdy. Were you aware that “dowdying” is the act of pushing cooked dough into the cooked fruit juices in an effort to moisten the dough? No. I didn’t think so. But while you’re all working, I am busy finding out these things for you.) that too much sugar can cause ice cream not to freeze properly, so I will take that into consideration the next time I whip up a batch of caramel-walnut ice cream. In the meantime, here is the recipe for Pecan Praline ice cream, which perfectly complements baked pears.
- Adapted from Ice Creams and Sorbets by Lou Siebert Pappas
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing foil-lined baking sheet
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with butter.
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey, brown sugar, water, and cardamom, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 2 minutes. Add the pecans, stirring to coat. Remove from heat. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet and bake until toasted, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from foil and toss with the butter in a small bowl. Let cool and place in an airtight container until you're ready to incorporate them into the ice cream. You can also make the praline while the ice cream cools for 2-3 hours. No rush.
- Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive mixing bowl, whisking until sugar and yolks are well-blended.
- In a medium sauce pan, warm the cream over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is steaming, or a thermometer reads between 90-100 degrees. Seibert Pappas uses a double boiler for this process and the custard-cooking process, but I find that so long as you're careful and attentive - and stirring constantly - direct heat is fine.
- Working in small batches, slowly add the hot cream to the egg mixture, stirring continuously until approximately half of the cream has been combined with the egg mixture. You already know from the vanilla ice cream recipe that you are doing this to avoid the eggs cooking and therefore spoiling the custard you're creating.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat, and slowly pour the egg and cream mixture (the custard) into the pan, stirring continuously.
- Continue with all that stirring until the mixture thickens such that it coats the back of a silicone spoon or spatula, approximately 10-12 minutes. At this point, remove the pan from the heat, pour the mixture into a non-reactive bowl (stainless or glass), and add the vanilla extract, stirring well to combine. Chill for 2-3 hours until custard is cold throughout. You may speed this process up by placing the non-reactive bowl into an ice water bath before refrigerating it if you'd like.
- Once the custard is completely chilled, freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions, adding the pecan praline at the end of the freezing process, churning into the ice cream for approximately 15 seconds once the praline is added, or until well-distributed.
- Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until set, 2-3 hours. Serve over baked pears, OR, if you like a little jolt of coffee before bed, have pecan praline ice cream affogato al caffe:
- Place a scoop of ice cream in a small bowl. Add a small amount of warm espresso to the bowl, and eat immediately. Yum.
Dinner tonight: Roasted chicken with orange-honey beets and polenta. Estimated cost for two: $6.63. The chicken was $3.52, and we’ll eat less than half of it (even with JR feeling better), so that’s $1.76. The beets were $2.50. The polenta is around $1.75, the butter is 62 cents, and the broth is leftover from the chicken soup, so that is free for this meal. We’re still eating baked pears, and I do still have some of this batch of pecan praline ice cream remaining, though I might have had a little more affogato (which means “drowned” in Italian – and you thought I was swearing in the title of this post!) than I had intended in the course of shooting today. Shhhh. Don’t tell JR.