Cardamom Waffle Sundae with Sweet Potato and Scotch Ice Cream, Apple Cider Ice Cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, and Maple-Cranberry Topping

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  2 hours Chilling Time:  20 hours Cook Time:  3 hours

Cardamom Waffle Sundae with Sweet Potato and Scotch Ice Cream, Apple Cider Ice Cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, and Maple-Cranberry Topping

Waffles were a food group all their own to Amy Poehler’s character on TV’s Parks and Recreation, so here is a waffle recipe that I created in her honor. This recipe might look complicated, but if you break it down and do it in parts, ahead of time, it’s really very doable. You can make the ice cream up to a month in advance, the Pumpkin Seed Brittle 2 to 3 weeks in advance (store it in an airtight container), and the Maple-Cranberry Topping up to 2 days in advance. When you are ready to serve, it’s just a matter of whipping up the waffles and assembling the sundaes.

(The Sweet Potato and Scotch Ice Cream is adapted from David Lebovitz’s Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream, which appears in his book, The Perfect Scoop and the Pumpkin Seed Brittle is loosely adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart.)

Ingredients

Sweet Potato and Scotch Ice Cream:

2½ cups heavy cream

1 cinnamon stick

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled

1 vanilla bean pod, slit lengthwise and scraped, pod and seeds reserved

10 scrapes fresh nutmeg (see Kitchen Tips)

¾ teaspoon ground white pepper

½  teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Scotch whiskey

7 large egg yolks

¾ cup (155 grams) grams dark brown sugar

1 pound mashed sweet potatoes, organic preferred (about 1 cup cooked, canned or frozen and defrosted )

 

Apple Cider Ice Cream:

2½ cups heavy cream

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, pod and seeds reserved

½ teaspoon salt

7 large egg yolks

½ cup (103 grams) light brown sugar

1 quart apple cider, heated until reduced in volume to 2 cups

 

Pumpkin Seed Brittle:

¾ cup (153 grams) granulated sugar

3 tablespoons (62 grams) corn syrup

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

¼ cup water

1½ cups (180 grams) salted pepitas 

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, cultured preferred 

1 teaspoon (8 grams) vanilla bean paste

½ teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Maple-Cranberry Topping:

2 cups fresh cranberries

½ cup pure maple syrup  

½ cup maple sugar

Zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons 

¼ cup Bourbon

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Cardamom Waffles:

2 whole eggs

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon  (2 grams) salt

2/3 cup (107 grams) maple sugar

1¼ cups (163 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cardamom

½ stick (¼ cup/57 grams/2 ounces/4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 teaspoons (10 grams) vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. To prepare the Sweet Potato and Scotch Ice Cream, fill a large bowl partway with ice water. Set a large, clean bowl into the ice water, positioning it so that the water will not enter it and it will sit securely and stay very still.  Place a fine-mesh sieve over the top bowl.
  2. Combine the cream, cinnamon stick, ginger, vanilla bean and seeds, nutmeg, pepper, salt and Scotch in a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer (the longer it simmers, the stronger the flavors; this can be made the day before, and refrigerated with the spices still in it and reheated before making the ice cream).
  3. Meanwhile, in another medium-sized glass or metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks and brown sugar until pale and thickened.
  4. Slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (see Kitchen Tips). Continue drizzling and whisking until the hot milk mixture is completely incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture back into the pot. With a wooden spoon, stir continuously over low heat for 6 to 9 minutes, until it becomes a thick custard that coats the back of a spoon. (Do not let the custard boil or the mixture will curdle. If steam begins to rise from the custard, briefly remove pot from heat to cool slightly while continuing to stir).
  6. Pour the custard quickly through the fine-mesh strainer into the bowl in the ice bath, stirring the custard as it cools. Then, with a wooden spoon, push and mash the sweet potato completely through the sieve and stir well. When cool, refrigerate, covered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  7. Transfer to an ice cream machine and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure to freeze overnight for a firm served ice cream. (The ice cream may frozen for up to 1 month.)
  8. To prepare the Apple Cider Ice Cream, fill a large bowl partway with ice water. Set a large, clean bowl into the ice water, positioning it so that the water will not enter it and it will sit securely and stay very still.  Place a fine-mesh sieve over the top bowl.
  9. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer (the longer it simmers, the stronger the flavors; this can be made the day before, and refrigerated with the spices still in it and reheated before making the ice cream).
  10. Meanwhile, in another medium-sized glass or metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks and brown sugar until pale and thickened.
  11. Slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (see Kitchen Tips). Continue drizzling and whisking until the hot milk mixture is completely incorporated.
  12. Pour the mixture back into the pot. With a wooden spoon, stir continuously over low heat for 6 to 9 minutes, until it becomes a thick custard that coats the back of a spoon. (Do not let the custard boil or the mixture will curdle. If steam begins to rise from the custard, briefly remove pot from heat to cool slightly while continuing to stir).
  13. Pour the custard quickly through the fine-mesh strainer into the bowl in the ice bath, stirring the custard as it cools. When cool, refrigerate, covered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  14. Working in batches, transfer to an ice cream machine and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure to freeze the ice creams overnight for a firm ice cream. (The ice creams can frozen for up to 1 month.)
  15. To prepare the Pumpkin Seed Brittle, line a 12- by 17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and spray with nonstick vegetable oil spray. (If you have a dedicated marble candy surface, spray it with nonstick vegetable oil spray or oil it, and use that.)
  16. Position a small container of water and a pastry brush near the stove. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and water. Stir for about 2 minutes to insure that the sugar is completely moistened. Insert a candy thermometer into the mixture, positioning it so that does not touch the pan (so you get the temperature of the candy, and not the bottom of the pan). Set over high heat and bring to a boil. (You can stop stirring when the mixture begins to boil.) Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the temperature reaches 265°F. As crystals form on the sides, dip the pastry brush in the water and carefully brush down the sides of pot. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 315°F and is a golden caramel brown. The timing will vary, so watch the thermometer and color carefully.
  17. Immediately remove from the heat, and quickly add the pumpkin seeds, butter, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, and salt. The mixture will foam and spurt a bit. Stir with a heat-resistant spoon until the butter melts and is fully incorporated. It will foam considerably.
  18. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it evenly with a heat-resistant spatula. Let cool for at least 1 hour and then break it into pieces, as large or small as you like. You can just lift it up and slam it down to break it apart. Or you can place it on a work surface and rap it with a kitchen hammer or meat pounder. Rapping it (see Kitchen Tips) lets you control the size of the pieces a little better. (The brittle will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.)
  19. To prepare the Maple-Cranberry Topping, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, maple sugar, zest and juice of the lemons, Bourbon, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan set over high heat, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the cranberries have “popped” and are cooked through. Transfer to a heat-resistant container and let cool. As soon as the sauce is cool, cover and refrigerate until chilled. This sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance.
  20. When you are ready to make the waffles, preheat your waffle cone maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (see Kitchen Tips).
  21. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, salt, and  sugar and mix with a whisk until lightened in color (or a handheld mixer at medium speed for about 1 minute, until  lightened in color). Add the flour and cardamom and mix (at low speed for about 30 seconds), until blended and smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla and mix (at low speed for about  about 20 seconds), just until blended.
  22. Place a clean bowl that measures about 3 to 4 inches in diameter upside down next to your waffle maker. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the batter into the center of the waffle maker. Close the lid and cook for 2 minutes. Quickly remove the waffle cone from the waffle maker and place it, upside down, on the prepared bowl to keep its shape. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 waffle cups.
  23. Assemble the waffles by placing 2 scoops of ice cream into each. Drizzle with the maple-cranberry sauce and garnish with the pumpkin seed brittle.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Nutmeg is available ground, but if you buy the whole nutmeg and grate it or scrape it with a sharp knife yourself, the flavor and fragrance will be much stronger. Look for it in specialty spice stores, good supermarket spice sections, or online.
  2. If your bowl wobbles around precariously while you are whisking with one hand and pouring with the other, dampen a kitchen towel and fashion it into a round “nest” on your kitchen counter. Nestle the bowl into it securely and continue whisking and pouring.
  3. To break the Pumpkin Seed Brittle, use a meat pounder, which helps you make larger, more uniform pieces. (If you are pulverizing a nut brittle to use as praline,  it doesn’t much matter how you break it up. Even a large metal spoon is usually sturdy enough to do the job.)
  4. If you don’t have a waffle maker, you can serve this treat with crepes as a base. Place a clean bowl, turned upside down, next to your stove top. Pour 3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and gently tilt the pan around to spread the batter over the surface. Cook for about 1½ minutes and gently turn, cooking the second side for about 30 to 45 seconds. Quickly remove and drape onto the overturned bowl to make a cup shape. 

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