Growing up ice cream was paramount in our household. It was always in the freezer and we ate it everyday, year round. It was not merely a summer treat to us. My father’s idea of a bowl of ice cream consisted of three healthy scoops, not marbles as he referred to stingy dips. Now an ice cream parlor just opened near me claiming they have “Philly-sized” scoops. I don’t know what “Philly-sized” scoops are (they would be just scoops to us), but I’m guessing they are large since my family’s idea of a bowl of ice cream is about 5 or 6 times what a serving of gelato in Italy would be.
To give you an example of how ingrained ice cream is in my psyche, my friend and I were trudging through a snowstorm, when most people had the good sense to stay indoors and I was overwhelmed with a craving for vanilla ice cream. She thought I was nuts but it made sense to me. Doesn’t snow resemble ice cream? So we went to Haagen Dazs where they also thought I was crazy. But hey, they were open. Though I did get the feeling we were the only people to show up that day.
Over the years it became apparent that milk was not a friend of my digestive system. This probably should have been obvious early on but as I said we were hard core ice cream people. One scoop and I’d probably be fine but we never stopped at just one scoop. I mean really, who eats just one scoop? So I learned to like frozen yogurt but let’s face it, nothing is really a substitute for the satisfaction you feel from polishing off a pint of ice cream.
Well sound the trumpets because coconut milk has come to my rescue. Ever have it? I love it! Seriously if you never had this stuff run, don’t walk, to the grocery store now. Milk issues or not, this stuff is so creamy and delicious, it is life changing. And you can use it to make ice cream!
The idea for maple-flavored ice cream came from a shop my husband and I visited in Montreal. It was called Maple Delights and you guessed it, everything they sold was made from maple syrup; maple candy, maple jam, maple tea, you get the idea. Anyway they also had a huge selection of baked goods and ice cream all sweetened with maple syrup. Delicious!
I plan to explore this sweetener more in my baking. It has a depth to it that granulated sugar is lacking. Oh and just in case you were wondering, my father still eats ice cream everyday.
Yields 4 to 8 servings
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Frozen Honey Cream
1 3/4 cups coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup grade B maple syrup*
4 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
* Grade B maple syrup is sometimes labeled as "pure" maple syrup or "for cooking."
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the coconut cream with the vanilla extract to stiff peaks (about 2 to 5 minutes), then refrigerate. Tip: To learn how to separate the coconut cream from the coconut milk, check out this post from Tasty Yummies titled How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream. I could only get Thai Kitchen brand to separate but I'm guessing just buying Trader Joe's Coconut Cream will get you there faster.
- Combine the salt, egg yolks and maple syrup in a medium heatproof mixing bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk slowly and constantly until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Tip: Make sure the bowl is not touching the water. You only need about an inch of water in the pot.
- Remove from heat and beat on medium speed until mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Tip: The mixture will thicken as you beat it.
- When the mixture is cool, stir in the chopped walnuts.
- Pour the maple mixture into the cold whipped coconut cream and fold with a rubber spatula,. Tip: View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until set, 8 hours to overnight.
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