Walnut Praline Ice Cream

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Walnut Praline Ice Cream

We celebrated Summer Solstice last night with this Walnut Praline Ice Cream as the Strawberry Moon hung low in the sky and the heat of day slowly gave way to the cooling breaths of evening. Ice cream and my childhood go hand in hand, and this creamy concoction with crunchy bits of praline took me right back to the farm and many summer nights tucked in between my parents on the porch swing as we cradled our bowls of hand-cranked goodness.

This recipe, by Claire Ptak in The Violet Bakery Cookbook does not require an ice cream maker, and while it is a fairly simple recipe to follow, it does require some advance prep so making this the same day as serving it will most likely not give the best results.

Walnut Praline Ice Cream by Claire Ptak

Serves 6

For the ice cream base
100g (3.5 ounces) walnuts
600g (2.5 cups) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 egg yolks

For the walnut praline
100g (3.5 ounces) walnuts
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
4 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt
Nocino, brandy, or cognac to taste (optional)

The night before you wish to serve the ice cream, start your prep.

Preheat oven to 170 C or 340 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the walnuts for both the ice cream base and the praline on the lined baking sheet and place in oven for 4 - 5 minutes, until you smell them (only long enough to release their oils).

Measure the cream into a jug. Separate half the walnuts and coarsely chop them, leaving the other half on the tray. Drop the chopped walnuts into the cream, along with the vanilla and chill the mixture overnight.

The praline can also be made the night before. Place the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat along with the water and salt and stir to dissolve. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and turn the heat up to high. Cook until it turns a deep amber color and starts to smell like caramel. When the caramel is ready, pour it over the warmed walnuts on the baking sheet and leave to cool and harden. Using a sharp knife, break the praline into bite-size chunks and store overnight in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag in the freezer.

Start to make the ice cream the next morning so that it has ample time to freeze. Select a large loaf pan that is big enough to hold the ice cream and place it in the freezer to chill. Remove the cream from the fridge and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the walnuts. Discard the nuts. Whip the cold cream into soft billowy peaks and set aside.

In a small, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the sugar and water for the ice cream base and stir to dissolve. When the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and cook the syrup for 3 minutes until thickened but not colored. Meanwhile, place your egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until they begin to get light and frothy. When the sugar syrup is ready, pour it into the yolks in a steady stream. Whisk with an electric mixture until the mixture is pale, very fluffy, and cool to the touch. Whisk half of the fluffy yokes with half of the whipped cream to combine, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream until just incorporated, followed by the remaining yolks. Sprinkle over the praline and fold through.

Taste, and if desired, add a bit more sugar, salt or a splash of alcohol.

Scoop the ice cream into the cold container and place in freezer for at least four hours before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment