April 5, 2008

One Advantage of Being Forgetful

I've been intrigued by French style praline for some time, but never bothered to make any. Then I found a recipe that I wanted to try. I had the ingredients, made the hazelnut praline, and then, I got interrupted. At this point, I don't even remember what happened, but a couple days later, I realized I had some praline, but not the recipe it was part of.

Then a friend of mine asked for my Nutella ice cream recipe and I realized that the praline could be used to create a similar flavor profile. Since I couldn't come close to the same consistency as Nutella, I decided to use my food processor to break up the praline into a course grind.

This ice cream has a crunchy and gritty texture. The flavor is a combination of cooking some of the praline into the base, and then adding the rest at the end of the churning. My friends and family loved this new ice cream flavor, but my Mom still likes homemade browned butter pecan best.

Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla

1 recipe hazelnut praline, finely ground*
1/3 cup cocoa
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp additive

Bring cream and milk to a simmer. Whisk egg yolks, vanilla, salt, and sugar together. Add the cocoa and whisk again. Add a ladle of hot milk and whisk quickly. Keep adding one ladle at a time, stirring thoroughly until the mixture is thin. Pour the chocolate mixture back into the milk/cream on the heat and stir constantly until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to let the mixture boil.

Take the ice cream base off the heat and add half of the praline and stir for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Press on the back of the leftovers to ensure as much liquid as possible is extracted. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
Put the other half of the praline in the freezer.

Churn the ice cream base in your preferred ice cream machine. When it's done churning stir in the remaining frozen praline and transfer to a container. Place the container into the freezer to ripen for a few hours before serving.

*Hazelnut Praline
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8 ounces hazelnuts

Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Turn oven to 400F. Toast for at least 5 minutes after coming up to heat. Check often and when the skins are getting very dark. Remove from the oven and wrap in a towel. Let rest for 3 minutes and then rub the skins off.

Chop the cleaned nuts roughly. Spread out over buttered parchment. In a heavy pan melt sugar and water over medium heat. You're basically making a caramel so brush the sides of the pan with water to eliminate sugar crystals. Cook until the syrup is dark reddish brown. Remove the pan and pour caramel over the nuts. Allow to cool and harden. Break into smaller pieces before putting in the food processor.