This is the smoothest, creamiest maple ice cream you’ll ever taste. What’s the secret? It’s made with maple sugar instead of maple syrup. Maple sugar is the solid stuff that remains after maple sap is completely boiled down, beyond the syrup stage. So basically, it’s all of the flavor and sweetness without the water. That’s great for making ice cream, because added water means more ice crystals and a grittier texture.
Learn to make your own maple sugar from maple syrup here, purchase it at a farmers’ market, farm stand, specialty shop, at some grocery stores, or buy it online. If you prefer to use maple syrup, you can substitute with 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/3 cup white sugar. The texture won’t be quite as smooth, but the flavor will still be excellent.
Sugar maples are tapped in late winter and early spring, so if there is a season to using maple products, it’s spring. But who doesn’t associate autumn’s brilliantly colored maple leaves with that most delicious brown nectar? So here it is, my maple ice cream recipe, in October. Enjoy the transient splendor of fall foliage with a creamy treat from the season’s brightest symbol.
The ice cream base is a cooked custard with a little tapioca syrup (or corn syrup) to bind water molecules and add elasticity. If you use corn syrup, get the kind without high fructose corn syrup, which is too sweet for this recipe. Karo light corn syrup (NOT the reduced calorie version) has no HFCS and works well in this recipe. Nuts are a time honored addition to this classic flavor, but it’s almost a shame to interrupt the sumptuously smooth mouth feel of this ice cream with a crunch.
Silky smooth maple ice cream
Makes about 1 quart
- 3 large whole eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole or low fat milk
- 3/4 cups maple sugar (or 1/2 cup maple syrup plus 1/2 cup white sugar)
- 3 tbsp tapioca syrup or corn syrup (NOT high fructose syrup)
- Pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until yolks and whites are well blended.
- Add all other ingredients to a 4 quart saucepan. Heating over medium-high heat and stirring frequently, bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and temper the eggs by slowly drizzling about 1 and 1/2 cups of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, while vigorously whisking the eggs.
- Carefully pour the tempered egg mixture back into the 4 quart pan, while whisking the contents of the pan.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, preferably with a heat proof spatula (but a spoon will do), scraping all portions of the bottom of the pan as you stir, until mixture thickens and reaches a temperature of about 170 degrees F. It should be obviously thicker than raw cream.
- Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl.
- Place immediately in refrigerator, or pre-cool for 30 minutes in a cold water bath. Stir occasionally during first 30 minutes of cooling.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably over night, but not more than 24 hours.
- Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Transfer to freezer storage container and store in freezer until ready to eat.