Sunday, August 12, 2018

Grand Hotel Pecan Balls

The weather here in Texas is now pretty scorching. This heat is not only in Texas, I recently got a comment indicating that it was too hot to turn the oven on and that it was time for ice cream. In response, I cranked up the ice cream maker instead of the oven for this post.

If you are looking for something chilly and sweet, you have come to the right place. These baseball-sized scoops of homemade maple ice cream coated with crunchy roasted pecans are a super summer treat. While they are tasty on their own,the rich chocolate sauce is the crowning touch.

Most of the time spent on this recipe is waiting for the ice cream to firm up in the freezer. The end result, however, is worth the wait time. So pull out that ice cream maker-you will be glad you did! This recipe makes about 6 servings. Be sure to plan for the long amount of chilling time for the ice cream.

Grand Hotel Pecan Balls
adapted from recipelink and serious eats websites

Ingredients/Maple Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tbs invert sugar (recipe found here)
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
6 egg yolks

Ingredients/covering and sauce
2 cups roasted pecans/ chopped
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 lb chocolate chips
2 cups light corn syrup
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs cream de cacao

For the ice cream, start by blending the yolks together in a saucepan. Then mix in the maple syrup, heavy cream and half and half. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as mixture cooks. Liquid batter will thicken up, forming a custard. This process should take about 10-15 minutes. To test for correct consistency, use the back of a spoon. Mixture should coat the spoon and leave a clean line when swiped with your finger.

 Remove from heat and mix in invert sugar. Let cool for 20 minutes, then transfer to heat proof bowl. Cover with air tight lid and place in refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight. After the chilling step, transfer custard to an ice cream maker. Follow manufacturers' instructions for making ice cream. Once completed, transfer back to airtight container and let chill again, in the freezer, for 3 hours. Then scoop into 6 - 8 balls and roll in chopped pecans. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until ready to serve.

About 1 hour prior to serving, prepare the sauce. Fill a saucepan with the heavy cream, corn syrup and sugar. Whisk together and place over medium high heat. Once mixture starts to boil, remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips, vanilla extract and cream de cacao. Once chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, let cool. Then plate each ice cream ball with 1/4 cup of chocolate sauce underneath.

Tips and notes:
1. Do not skip the roasting of the pecans, this insures that they stay crunchy even though they are covering ice cream.

2. This recipe makes a lot of chocolate sauce. If you just want a drizzle for serving instead of the 1/4 cup, cut the recipe in half or fourths to reduce the amount left over,

3. The ice cream turned out silky and hard, so consistency was not an issue when forming the rounds. If you prefer something softer for serving, try plating with warm chocolate sauce or taking the ice cream rounds out of the freezer for awhile.
                                     **LAST YEAR: Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies**