Browned-Butter Pecan Ice Cream

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(Browned-Butter Pecan Ice Cream – recipe in post)

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.

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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.


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32 Responses to Browned-Butter Pecan Ice Cream

  1. Maggie July 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    This looks AMAZING!!! I am so wild about anything pecan and anything brown butter, so this is my dream ice cream! And, lucky me, I just got an ice cream maker so this will be made in my kitchen soon!!

    • Willow July 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Wonderful – I hope you like it!

  2. Caitlin July 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    butter pecan was ALWAYS my favorite flavor growing up. i could eat an entire half gallon of the breyers stuff in one sitting. but, to make it the most amazing treat ever, i would drench the ice cream in chocolate syrup first ;)

    i have to say, your ice cream looks far better than the kind i used to indulge in as a child. for one thing, there was never huge chunks of pecans in there like yours.

    you win ;) i bow to you.

    • Willow July 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Haha, nice. I was always a fan of butter pecan as a kid, too, but I thought I was the only one. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  3. Jen @JuanitasCocina July 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Ummmm, yes. I shall be enjoying this thusly soon…(or something)…

    What I really mean is, WOW!!! This is one of my favorite flavors. Can’t wait to make this!

    Also, next week is #IceCreamWeek for me, Chocolate Moosey, and The Messy Baker. We’ll be having a link-up at the end of the week! Hope you include all of these amazing recipes!

    • Willow July 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Awesome, thanks for letting me know! :)

  4. Abby July 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    That is the quintessential bowl of ice cream, completely perfect! Man, I really need to go out and get an ice cream maker.

  5. Foodie Stuntman July 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Yummy! I agree with Abby. I might have to buy an ice cream maker.

  6. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes July 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Mmmm Butter Pecan – My Dad and I both LOVE this one!

    I scored just a few weeks ago and came across a vegan Butter Pecan – so good :)

    Haha feelin’ Fat and Sassy – I love it :)

  7. July 11, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Yet more incredible ice cream… you really are making me jealous… are you sure that your summer is unbearable. Can we trade? I think I need to find an alternative, but simple and cheap, method of making a nice frozen dessert. Come back to me on that one in a week :D

    • Willow July 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Haha, yes, we can trade! I’m spending all my time inside anyway (working on painting and other home repairs) so I don’t mind if the weather is a little drab. :)

  8. Francy in cucina July 12, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    This ice cream… the BEST ONE!

  9. mjskit July 12, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    This ice cream is incredible! I think my husband would marry me all over again if I served him this! :)

  10. Riley July 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    I’m loving these ice cream recipes! And this one looks particularly delish!

  11. Kat July 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I think it’s suitable that the month dedicated to ice cream is July (wouldn’t do it any good in February). I have been gobbling up ice cream these days myself to keep cool (and fat and sassy!!!), and as much as I like frozen yogurt, it just doesn’t stand near some quality ice cream. My husband absolutely loves anything with pecans in it. This one’s a keeper!

  12. CJ - Food Stories July 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Willow … You’ve been selected as the June winner for the Food Stories Award … Food Stories Award winner for June has posted … Congratulations …

    • Willow July 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Wow – thank you so much! This made my day, and I can’t stop smiling! :)

  13. katherine Martinelli July 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    What a gorgeous take on a classic flavor. Sounds unbelievably delicious!

  14. shannon @ a periodic table July 14, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    there’s something very wrong about suddenly craving browned butter pecan ice cream at just past 7 am. and yet, i do. i have loved butter pecan ice cream since childhood, and i daresay browned butter and pecans may be the most perfect creation ever to exist. you just gave me a reason to get excited about being done with vacation; returning home to my ice cream maker so i can make this. thank you. :)

    • Willow July 17, 2012 at 12:21 am #

      Heheh – there’s nothing wrong with ice cream in the AM. Not in my book, anyways. ;)

  15. Yumgoggle July 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Yum! July is my birth month and it is National Ice cream month too. Talk about destiny, eh? LOL! I love this flavorful treat. Pecans are rich in Vitamin E (I think all nuts are, aren’t they?)So I guess, not counting the calories of a typical ice cream, this is still healthy. COme on, it is National Ice Cream Month so we might give to this favorite comfort food. Yummy!This is a must try…
    Oh, this is Myfudo by the way. We are moving to a new domain, (previously this has been a project we have been working on for almost a year now. We just launched our new gallery submission site, and we are just thrilled. Unique and interesting bloggers like you will make the Yumgoggle gallery more fun and exciting.

    We’d love you to join the latest virtual shindig that is all about food photography, food in general, recipes, and culinary trends. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! Please sign up and check us out (it’s free) . We look forward to seeing your wonderful pictures, as always.

    p.s. We are hosting a Kitchen Aid Mixer Giveaway to celebrate our new Yumgoggle site, coming soon in our launch post, we hope you’ll participate =)

    • Willow July 17, 2012 at 12:22 am #

      Thanks for letting me know. :)

  16. Javelin Warrior July 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    I just discovered your blog via CJ’s Food Stories and I’m so glad to be here – this ice cream looks fantastic and I’m sure it tastes just as good as it looks!

    • Willow July 17, 2012 at 12:22 am #

      Wonderful, I’m glad to have you as a reader!

  17. Kim Bee July 17, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    I am completely in love with this ice cream. Looks so refreshing right now.

  18. Jody Le Blanc October 25, 2012 at 6:15 am #

    Note: I think they meant to bake the Pecans 8-10 minutes, not 18-10 minutes. lol ;)

    • Willow October 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Whoops! Small typo, big mistake – thanks for catching that, it’s been fixed. :)

  19. Dawnette August 2, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    So yeah, I made this the other day…I doubled it because #1. I love Butter Pecan ice cream and #2. Although I didn’t want to share I had to, 4 kids and a hubby so yeah…this is the best Butter Pecan ice cream, I will never purchase store bought again, I’ll just make it…tastes better……there was this one ice cream shop that made all their ice creams, needless to say they changed hands, stopped making Butter Pecan until I requested it they called me when they made some…wasn’t the same…smh..but this…I could eat everyday!

    • Willow August 2, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Yay, I’m so glad you like it! Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment, this made my day. Butter pecan is a favorite of mine, too, and it seems to be getting harder and harder to find… homemade is the best!


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