It’s National Ice Cream Month! Not everyone has an entire month dedicated to one of their favorite things, but here I am, eatin’ ice cream and feelin’ fat and sassy.
Butter pecan is such a classic flavor. Sweet, nutty, and just a little salty… and far too easy to make.
Using the base of my favorite vanilla ice cream, pecans are toasted with butter, and a pinch of salt. As they bake, the butter bubbles and browns, creating a rich depth of flavor that makes this ice cream just a little extra special. The pecans are added in the last few minutes of churning, and viola – from vanilla to butter pecan just like that!
As I mentioned before, with a good vanilla ice cream recipe a person can do just about anything.
Browned-Butter Pecan Ice Cream
(Adapted from my Very Vanilla Ice Cream)
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
pinch of salt
5-6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar (or substitute in part, or all, with light brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves, whole or roughly chopped
3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. sea salt
In a sauce pan, combine the milk and cream. Add a small pinch of salt, and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until hot, but not boiling.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and smooth.
Very slowly and gradually, pour (or ladle) the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Be sure to temper the yolks slowly, and keep them in constant motion to prevent them from scrambling. Once about half of the cream is added, you can begin to pour in a slow steady stream, continuing to whisk all the while.
Return the cream and egg mixture to the sauce pan, and place over low to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until the custard thickens to coat the back of your utensil (usually when it reaches around 175-180 degrees F.). Do not let the mixture boil!
While stirring, be sure to continuously scrape the bottom of the pot to keep the yolks from becoming lumpy.
Strain the custard into a bowl (glass, metal, or ceramic are best) set over a larger bowl full of ice. Straining the custard acts as a safeguard against any lumps or bits of untempered egg.
Stir the custard over the ice bath until cool, and add the vanilla extract. Cover, and refrigerate until completely chilled, or overnight.
When the custard is almost done chilling, prepare the pecans:
Preheat oven to 350f.
Toss pecans with melted butter and salt, and spread evenly on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring once durring cooking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Churn the custard in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last 2-3 minutes of churning, add the (completely cooled) pecans and all of the buttery drippings in the pan.
Serve immediately for a soft-serve consistency, or pour into a lidded, chill-proof container and freeze until firm.