Though the ice cream is fantastic on its own, chef and cookbook author John McReynolds of Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyard and Winery in Sonoma, California, turns it into a sophisticated dessert with the addition of caramelized walnuts and a drizzle of saba--ripe wine-grape juice cooked down to a fruity syrup. He makes his own saba each autumn, but you can buy saba at gourmet grocery stores (or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar).

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Credit: Erin Kunkel

Recipe Summary test

1 hr 30 mins
3 hrs
4 hrs 30 mins
Serves 6 (makes 1 qt.)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Make ice cream: Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Put seeds in a small saucepan with milk, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring often, until small bubbles form around edge, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes.

  • Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour in milk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until custard coats a metal spoon and a finger pulled across custard on spoon leaves a path, 5 to 8 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and whisk in cream and crème fraîche. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Set bowl in a bowl of ice and a little water until cold.

  • Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm enough to scoop, at least 3 hours.

  • Make walnuts: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add sugar, butter, salt, and walnuts and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir constantly as sugar melts, turns golden brown, and coats each nut evenly, about 10 minutes. Pour nuts onto lined baking sheet. Let cool, then roughly chop.

  • Scoop ice cream into bowls. Drizzle with saba and sprinkle with nuts.

  • *Find at gourmet grocery stores and online.

  • Make ahead: The ice cream, up to 3 days, frozen; and nuts up to 1 day, stored airtight.

Nutrition Facts

552 calories; calories from fat 71%; protein 9.1g; fat 43g; saturated fat 19g; carbohydrates 34g; fiber 1.3g; sodium 187mg; cholesterol 297mg.