Can you see happiness in a pair of hands?
I think so. Especially when they're clutching a pint of homemade maple ice cream, churned from just whole milk, cream, and maple syrup.
I don't know why we haven't talked about this ice cream before. I certainly would never withhold dessert on purpose. I think it's just that it's so routine, so everyday, that I would no more make a fuss over it than I would over my morning bowl of granola. It is my go-to ice cream, and it is so simple that we don't buy ice cream anymore. Really. If you own any sort of mechanized homemade ice cream maker, whipping this recipe up is literally easier than going to the store.
To be fair, it's really more of a formula than a recipe. I learned it from Heidi, over here, who in turn picked it up from a woman named Patricia Wells. You take 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 cup of whole milk, and 1/2 cup of sweetener. (In my experience, honey, maple syrup, and brown or white sugar all work.) If you want to get fancy you can infuse the milk with ginger—ginger ice cream, we've found, makes an excellent accompaniment to pumpkin pie—or add a bit of lemon extract or a pinch of nutmeg. But we usually keep it simple: for apple pie, plain maple; for a berry crisp, honey and a spoonful of vanilla.
Over time, you'll find your own favorites, too. I'd love to hear what you come up with!
HOMEMADE MAPLE ICE CREAM
Maple is the simplest flavor, because you don't need any extracts, and you also don't need to melt the sweetener with the milk.
(If you use honey or sugar, you will need to heat them with the milk until they dissolve, and then chill the mixture until it gets back down to fridge temp. Another thing to keep in mind is that maple and honey both impart their own particular flavor to the ice cream, which is compatible with some extracts and spices but not with others. Sugar tastes more neutral.)
With maple, you can just grab the cream, milk, and maple straight from the fridge (if your maple isn't refrigerated, you should put 1/2 cup in to chill before you begin), pour them into the ice cream maker, and sit down for dinner. When you're done, the ice cream will be too.
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
Mix all three ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture into the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn until thoroughly frozen. Eat some now, but also know that the ice cream will improve in flavor and texture over the course of a few days in the freezer. The maple flavor generally becomes more pronounced, and the ice cream firms up.