Since I was doing a Thanksgiving-themed dessert and pumpkin pairs well with maple syrup, I decided to serve homemade maple ice cream with my first pumpkin pie. I saw a very straightforward recipe for this on Serious Eats and it turned out great with a very deep maple flavor. It also paired well with the pumpkin pie.
Since the fat content of different types of cream and the names for them vary all over the place, I’m specifying the approximate fat content you’re looking for so you can find a mixture of locally available cream and milk that will get you there. Serious Eats uses a mixture of “cream” and “half and half”, and I guessed they were shooting for around 20% fat content. I made that by using half whole milk (3.5%) and half whipping cream (35%), yielding 19.25% fat content.
A trick I use when making a custard for ice cream is to use an instant-read thermometer. This allows me to heat up the custard base much faster so it’s done in 5 minutes rather than 15, and you don’t even have to check whether you can draw a line on the back of a coated spoon because you’ll know it’s done when the temperature has reached 85C/185F.
Just like olive oil, maple syrup comes in grades. In this case you don’t need the highest grade A, but rather grade B or C since that will give your ice cream a deeper maple flavor. Salt is added to the ice cream to accentuate the caramelly maple flavor. Add it at the end when the custard is warm to make it solve more easily without disrupting the custard forming process.
250 ml (1 cup) whole milk (3.5% fat)
5 egg yolks
150 ml (5/8 cup) maple syrup, preferably grade B or C
1/2 tsp salt (or 1 tsp kosher salt)
Cook over medium-high heat until a temperature of 85C/185F is reached and a custard forms. Lower the heat to medium once the temperature reaches 70C/160F to prevent burning the custard. Lower the heat quickly when 85C/185F has been reached to prevent the custard from boiling. Take off the heat, add the salt and stir to incorporate.