I’m very fortunate to live in a glorious part of the world. South Australia is an arid, dry state for the most part, but here in the Adelaide Hills (or more specifically, the Onkaparinga Valley – a distinction The Husband always insists on) we enjoy a decent annual rainfall, four seasons in each year instead of just two, lush rolling hills and fertile soils. There is rich farmland up here and from my property I can see orchards, vineyards, olive groves, herds of cattle and paddocks full of pasture gently undulating in the breeze. (Actually, from the front doorstep on Saturday I could see a big, brown snake, too!)
Spring time is magnificent here as the days begin to warm up and lengthen, gardens burst into life and the local farmers get on their tractors and begin to cut the hay. And there’s the sting – that bloody hay. This last weekend the weather was stunning; perfect for pottering around in the garden and dusting the redback spiders off the outdoor setting ready for alfresco dining. At least that’s what I would have been doing if I hadn’t had to shut myself in the house and practically hermetically seal all the doors and windows against the ubiquitious hay fever allergens. Red-nosed, streamy-eyed and clutching a big box of tissues, I wandered from room to room gazing out of the windows at natures bounty unfolding in my front yard, making very brief forays out to hang a load of washing in the back in between bouts of sneezing.
Resigned to my fate, I decided to put my time to some use in the kitchen and dragged out my ice cream machine. I’d laid my hands on some beautiful, locally made La Gringa Dulce de Leche and was pretty keen to find some more ways to incorporate it into my diet. This resultant ice cream is a very happy way to do so, but the addition of the Salted Maple Pecans was truly a rare (for me, at any rate) moment of inspiration. They are deliciously simple, but give the plain ice cream the lift it needs and are utterly addictive.
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 600 mls pouring cream
- 300 mls milk
- 275 gms dulce de leche
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- 1 good pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 170C.
- Combine the pecans, maple syrup and salt in a bowl, stir to coat thoroughly.
- Scatter on a lined baking tray and put in oven.
- Stir around to ensure even browning after 10 minutes, cook for 10 minutes more or until golden. Cool on a rack.
- Combine cream and milk in saucepan over moderate heat, bring just to the boil, then remove from heat.
- Whisk in dulce de leche, vanilla paste & salt. Pour into bowl and refrigerate until cool.
- Churn in Ice cream machine until frozen.
- Sprinkle with the pecans before serving.
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