Now that we are smack-dab in the middle of ice cream season my thoughts turn to Grapenuts. Yup, Grapenuts. Specifically; Grapenut Pudding Ice Cream. This flavor, albeit uncommon, is other-worldly-delicious. I recall seeing it as a child on ice cream shop menus in Maine or Massachusetts. Grapenut Pudding Ice Cream is a nostalgic, New England flavor. This recipe has developed over the years as each Summer I would obsessively play with the ratios of ingredients. My version is a vanilla custard base (closer to Italian gelato using egg yolks and cooking the base) but walks the line with American ice cream because it has equal ratios of cream & milk and only 3 yolks. The recipe calls for Vanilla Paste in leu of extract and a portion of vanilla bean. The paste contains the little black seeds, so that steeping and scraping the bean in this recipe is not necessary.
This recipe is quite sweet because that's how we roll over here. However, you could easily use a bit less of the sugar & honey.
You could play with the milk & cream ratio, too. My original inspiration was from the 1999 (ohhh, Prince!) Cuisinart Recipe Booklet for Premium Vanilla Ice Cream. —LoriG
Pour the milk & cream into a saucepan on medium heat and heat until just below boiling. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar & vanilla paste for a couple of minutes. It should turn a lighter color of yellow and be pretty smooth. You will get a smoother texture if you use regular white caster sugar in leu of the cane sugar. Either is fine. I've been convinced that cane sugar is better for you and of higher quality as an ingredient, but I might be a victim of marketing.
Add 4 tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into your bowl of the egg/sugar mixture. This will warm up your yellow mix. Then pour it all slowly into your milk & cream mixture on the stove while stirring constantly. Important: Stir and add slowly, you do not want the egg to curdle. Heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Until the mixture sticks to the back of your spoon.
Let it cool down and then cover your saucepan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Or if you have more urgent ice cream needs, you could make an ice bath. The mixture must be completely cooled before placing into the ice cream machine.
Pour the cooled ice cream mixture into the machine and let it run for about 20 minutes. (Follow the instructions on your particular machine). Add grape-nuts and let run another 5-7 minutes. It can be eaten right away but is a softer consistency of ice cream and the grapenuts are still a bit too crunchy. I usually place into an airtight container and freeze for several hours before serving. The ice cream is better once it sits, so that the grape-nuts become more soft. It is good day 1, but better on day 2.