Creamy Butter Pecan Ice Cream

A few weeks ago, I decided to branch out from my plain ol' vanilla ice cream life (not that there's anything wrong with homemade vanilla—it's divine) to try something new. Conservative Boy was quick to suggest one of his favorites: butter pecan ice cream.

And, as luck would have it, the handy little cookbook that came with the ice cream maker included a recipe for that very thing.

It was, I discovered, a bit more complicated that the vanilla recipe. But oh goodness oh goodness it was worth the work. Treating myself to a little bowl of this is one of the highlights of each day.

The process begins by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. As you may have learned by now, any recipe that starts out with butter is going to be good. I speak the truth.

Once the butter is melted, add 1 cup pecan halves and pieces and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook over medium-low heat until pecans are toasted and golden, stirring frequently, about 4 to 6 minutes. (I may have let mine get a bit too golden but, alas, every cooking adventure is a learning experience.)

Remove the pecans from the heat, strain (you can save the pecan-flavored butter if you like), and chill the pecans.

Next you'll combine 2 1/4 cups whole milk (although you can use a lower-fat variety if you like) and 2 1/4 cups heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Use a sharp knife to split 1 whole vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and use the blunt edge to scrape out the "seeds."

Stir the seeds and bean pod into the milk/cream mixture. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine 4 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, and 1 1/8 cups sugar in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat the mixture until it is thick, smooth, and pale yellow (about 2 minutes). Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk/cream mixture and discard it.

Pour out 1 cup of the hot liquid. With the mixer on low speed, add the cup of hot milk/cream to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. When it is thoroughly combined, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine.

Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the custard, and chill completely.

Now pour the chilled custard into the freezer bowl of the ice cream maker (or prepare your ice cream maker using whatever method is required to make ice cream) and let it mix until thickened (20 to 25 minutes in my mixer).

Five minutes before mixing is complete, add the pecans, and let them mix in completely.

Chill for about 2 hours for firmer ice cream like this.

See? I told you it wasn't exactly easy. But as I believe I mentioned way up there at the beginning of the post, it's oh so good.


Jessica said...

I'm going to make this tomorrow!

Julie said...

Ooh hooray! I hope you loved it!

Jessica said...

I do love it! I'll be reposting it on my blog as soon as I can take a photo of the finished product :)
Got any more ice cream recipes? I'm trying mint chocolate chip next!

Julie said...

I can't wait to hear about the mint chocolate chip. Next up for me is peach ice cream with some of the amazing peaches we have right now. I will, of course, post photos soon.