100 Mile Dessert: Candied Walnut Maple Ice Cream

Candied Walnut Maple Ice Cream

This is it, our first 100% local ice cream.  Sweetened with maple syrup and honey, it features local cream, milk, butter, and eggs (quite a few eggs it turns out).  The walnuts are farm-direct (back in May we visited Grimo Nuts) from less than 100 miles away in the Niagara On The Lake area.  It is delicious too, which is important when eating ice cream!  This was also my first attempt at creating my own ice cream recipe and we were all pleased with the results.  Enjoy…

Candied Walnut Maple Ice Cream

Candied Walnut Maple Ice Cream

  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups cream
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • Dash of salt

Begin by heating the cream, milk and half the syrup to nearly a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low.  Whisk together the rest of the maple syrup with the eggs and yolks in a bowl.  Add a ladle of the hot mixture to the bowl and stir.  Add this mixture to the milk and cream on the stove and stir constantly while it slowly heats to 170* and it coats the back of a spoon.  At this point most custard recipes (which this is) tell you to strain the mixture but I almost never do this, unless I think there are some big chunks in the mixture. Transfer the custard to a bowl and cool in an ice bath.  Cover with plastic wrap that touches the custard and chill overnight (or until it has become cold).

To make the candied walnuts heat the butter in a pan with the honey, walnuts, and dash of salt.  Stir once a minute until the walnuts are coated and beginning to darken.  There is a fine line between crispy and burnt so it’s better safe than sorry—remove from heat when the liquid has evaporated/caramelized and allow them to cool.  (Test the walnuts when cool and if they aren’t crispy enough you can cook them a little more.)

Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker.  When the custard begins to thicken add the candied walnuts.  Transfer the finished ice cream to a container to put in the freezer for at least 2 hours before eating.

*It’s quite helpful to have a candy thermometer, but if you don’t just know that you don’t want to get close to boiling or strange things will happen with your eggs, like the time my mint chip ice cream was more like minty scrambled egg ice cream….