I don’t remember when it was that I first fell in love with butter pecan ice cream, but I know it was my grandmother’s favorite flavor, so maybe some flavors just choose you.
The first time I tried a recipe, though, I followed the directions precisely and used salted butter. Oops. That was at least two years ago, a mistake I finally remedied this month and am so glad I did. Brown butter, as you well know, usually doesn’t let you down in the flavor department, and while it might seem like the ice cream will come out rich and heavy, it’s lighter than you might think. Although, I will warn you, a small scoop goes a long way.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Recipe courtesy Simply Recipes
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans
1. In a medium sized heat-safe bowl (metal, ceramic, or glass), whisk together the egg yolks until well blended. Set aside.
2. Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top. Set aside.
3. In a medium thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter cook it, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown. Add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar completely melts.
4. Slowly add the milk, stirring to incorporate. It will foam up initially, so make sure you are using a pan with high enough sides. Heat until all of the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not let boil or the mixture may curdle.
5. Whisk in hand, slowly pour half of the milk and sugar mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to incorporate. Then add the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk sugar mixture.
6. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes.
7. Pour the custard through the sieve and stir it into the cream. Add vanilla and stir until cool over the ice bath. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
8. While the mixture is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Lay out the pecans on a roasting pan in a single layer. Bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Let cool. Once cool, roughly chop the pecans and set aside. Note, if you want an extra punch to this ice cream, brush the pecans with melted butter and sprinkle with salt before roasting.
9. Once the ice cream mixture is thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
10. Once the ice cream has been formed in the ice cream maker, it will be fairly soft. Fold in the chopped pecans. Put in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.
Makes 1 1/2 quarts.