Maple Ice Cream in a Maple Caramel Cage
How can you make a simple dessert of maple ice cream even better? Serve the ice cream in tiny scoops on plates decorated with coffee crème anglaise, raspberry puree, and chocolate, and cover them with a golden caramel cage. This is one of those recipes to set you thinking about variations — other flavors of ice cream, caging fruit instead of ice cream, setting the cages upside down on fresh fruit and putting the ice cream inside them, the list goes on. Maple ice cream would also be a lovely touch with apple or pecan pie. At Hemingway’s, near the ski resorts at Killington, dessert can be an event all by itself.
- Maple Ice Cream
- Milk - 2 cups
- Eggs - 6
- Vermont Maple Syrup - 2 cups
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Caramel Cages
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Water - 2 tablespoons
- Vermont Maple Syrup - 1 tablespoon
- Cream of Tartar - 1/8 teaspoon
- Crème Anglaise - 1-1/2 cups
- Espresso Coffee - 3 tablespoons
- Raspberry Puree - 1 cup
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 1/2 cup, melted
- Fresh Raspberries - 1/2 pint
- Mint sprigs - 8
To prepare the ice cream: In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan and a skin forms on the top; do not let it boil. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the maple syrup until well blended. Slowly whisk a large spoonful of the hot milk into the eggs and maple syrup, then slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking constantly. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will curdle. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a non-aluminum container and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Blend the heavy cream into the custard mixture and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Pack into an airtight container and store in the freezer. The ice cream may be prepared up to 2 days in advance.
To make the cages: Collect 8 to 10 large (4 or 5-inch), deep cereal bowls. Lightly spray the insides and rims of the bowls with vegetable oil spray, wiping away the excess. Spray again and blot again. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the sugar. Add the water and maple syrup, stirring to combine. Add the cream of tartar. Stir the mixture occasionally until the sugar has melted and begun to turn color. When the sugar is light amber color, about 320 F on a candy thermometer, remove the pan from the heat. Watch carefully; the mixture quickly moves from soft ball stage (240 F) to hard ball stage (265 F) to hard crack stage (300 F), then begins to color (caramel stage). The bubbles become larger as the sugar is reduced and the mixture thickens.
Working quickly, with a two-pronged fork, dip into the caramel and lift out threads. Drizzle the threads into the bowls and across the rims, letting the threads drop into the bowls and settle inside. Criss-cross each bowl several times to form a lacy pattern. Set aside to cool for about 2 minutes, then tip the bowls over and slide the caramel cages out of the bowls and place on the foil-lined baking sheet, curved side up. Set aside to cool completely. Make at least eight cages. If the cages start to collapse when you slip them out of the bowls, let them cool a little longer in the bowls to set before releasing them.
To serve: Take the ice cream out of the freezer 15 minutes ahead of time to let it soften slightly. Stir the espresso into the crème anglaise and pool the sauce on each serving plate. Put the raspberry puree and chocolate in separate squeeze bottles. Draw a large spiral of raspberry puree in the crème anglaise on each plate. Using a toothpick or the tip of a sharp knife, pull from the center of the design outwards in a radial design to form a spider web. Make chocolate dots around the perimeter of the design. Put three small scoops of ice cream in the center of each decorated plate. Invert a caramel cage over the ice cream scoops on each plate. Scatter raspberries around the plates and garnish with mint leaves.