Oatmeal Ice Cream with Toasted Walnuts

It's June!  It's almost officially summer!  And I think ice cream is one of the best desserts around.  Especially ice cream you've made yourself.  It just tastes better, I swear it does.
My favorite vanilla bean gelato uses egg whites in the recipe.  And the leftover yolks I've had in the freezer will now be going towards this ice cream recipe!  If that's not a perfect trade-off, I don't know what is :-)

I found this intriguing recipe on my new website obsession Food52.  They have beautiful recipes and this one was triggered by a call for the best recipe with cereal.  I had to have it immediately.  I adapted the recipe slightly, see my version below :-) (or the original here)
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 cups homogenized milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, without seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract- add it when adding the yolk mixture)
  • Good pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts 
Preheat oven to 350F.  Evenly scatter oats on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until golden brown and fragrant -- anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oven. Stir them around once in a while to prevent any burning. Any burnt oats will make your ice cream taste bitter. 
Toast the walnuts for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. Chop roughly, and set aside to cool.

Seed the vanilla bean. Save the pod for your milk and cream. Save the seeds for a project on another day. (I didn't have any immediate plans to use vanilla bean seeds, so I subbed in vanilla extract instead for this one.)
Combine the vanilla bean pod, a generous pinch of salt, homogenized milk, and heavy cream in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  (If you're using vanilla extract, you should add it toward the very end, when you're putting the mixture into the fridge to start chilling)
Once the mixture is hot, add your freshly toasted oats to the milk and let them steep 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Taste the milk to ensure the oats have steeped good flavor into your ice cream base.
Over a bowl, strain the milk and oat mixture with a strainer lined with cheesecloth and squeeze the milk and cream from the oats. You may want to wait for the oats in the cheesecloth to cool before wringing it out :-)

Put the milk mixture back on the burner to reheat.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
Once the milk is hot, add about 1 cup of the steeped milk to the yolk and sugar mixture, while whisking vigorously. Repeat this step with 1 more cup of steeped milk. Return custard to the remaining milk in the stock pot and heat through just to eliminate any grit from the sugar, then cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Cover with lid or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours in your fridge, or until thoroughly cool.
When you can't stand it any longer and you totally want to get that ice cream churning, pour base into ice cream maker and spin until gorgeous and thick
I churned the ice cream for 15 minutes and it was perfect!
I put it in some tupperware...
Put the toasted chopped walnuts on top...
 And stirred them into the ice cream.
I froze the ice cream for a couple hours so it could solidify a bit.
And then heaven.  It's delicious.
The toasted oats add so much to such a simple ice cream recipe.  It's like eating a bit of a creamy oatmeal cookie.  Ok, that sounded weird, but I am definitely going to be alternating vanilla bean gelato and this oatmeal ice cream all summer- to maximize the egg whites and egg yolks of course :-)

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