After what feels like a terribly, terribly long and cold winter, it's finally got a bit warmer the last few days. Apparently the thaw is not going to last, but it gave me a chance to dust out the ice cream maker. Not that I need a warm day to eat ice cream, mind... I am such an addict.
Along with the thaw, came some good news. As a few of you know, we moved here to Canada last year. It was a leap of faith, and I am glad the majority of my experiences have been very positive. It took me a while, but I am now immersing myself in Canadian culture, getting out and about and getting to know people and making friends. However, one of the niggles in our move here was the long delay in getting me proper permanent resident status here.
So far, I have been a tourist. This means that I have been unable to work, or study (I still have to file taxes though, go figure!) This has been a source of frustration for me, as I am not a natural housebound person. While it has been brilliant bonding with Aditi and enjoying a (very relative) life of leisure, I still have been desperately hoping that all these immigration issues are solved, so at least I have an option for looking for work with a reasonable expectation of getting a job.
About two days ago, I had my first contact from Immigration. I had been approved as a permanent resident. Yayyy!! This is only the first step, as I still have to be interviewed by the local office, and probably head out of the country so I can 'land' as an immigrant, but one of the biggest obstacles has now been removed. Its expected that the second process will be completed within six weeks, and I will then legally become a Canadian resident. Finally.
In celebration of the news, I decided I wanted to make a very Canadian ice cream. Of course, one of the defining ingredients of Canada is maple syrup. So I whisked up this maple ice cream, the recipe for which I adapted from this 'Joy of Baking' recipe, and added texture by making a pecan praline to go with it. My recipe for the pecan praline can be found here, the only difference being that I added 1/2 tsp coarse salt to it. It really added an extra level of complexity to this already delicious ice cream.
I was pretty impressed at the all the different textures and flavours of this ice cream, it was creamy, smooth, and had the right amount of crunchy, sweet and salty texture, and its so very very decadent. And of course, a flavour that disappeared very quickly in our maple syrup loving household :-)
1 cup (250ml) maple syrup (I used Canada No. 1, medium grade, you can use dark or light syrup, the taste will vary depending on the syrup used)
2 cups (500ml) half and half or single cream
1 cup whole milk (250ml)
6 large egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream (double or whipping cream) (250ml)
A pinch of salt
Mix together 1 cup of the half and half and the heavy cream in a large bowl, and pop into the fridge, so it gets very cold.
In a saucepan, gently heat the 1 cup milk, the remaining 1 cup half and half and the maple syrup. Heat until just steaming, and do not allow to boil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar, until well mixed. Pour in the hot milk/ cream/ maple syrup mixture into the egg yolks, very slowly, whisking constantly. Don't pour in the hot liquid all at once, otherwise the eggs will curdle, so be careful while doing this step.
Once everything is well mixed, scrape back this mixture into a saucepan, and gently heat for 8 -10 minutes on a medium heat, again, not allowing the mixture to boil (as boiling will will curdle the custard). When the custard has thickened, and coats the back of a wooden spoon, take off the heat.
Take out the cold half and half and cream mixture from the fridge, and pour in the custard through a sieve into it, mixing well. Let the ice cream mixture cool, then put into the fridge until its completely cold, ideally overnight.
Meanwhile, make the pecan praline. Reserve a few nice pieces for the garnish, and crush the rest into coarse pieces and keep in a air tight tin (they will keep for up to a week)
When your ice cream mixture is completely cold, churn in an ice cream maker. In the last minute of churning, add the coarsely crushed pecan praline, and mix well.
Serve with the remaining pieces of praline scattered over as garnish.