I called on Mom’s help in choosing a sweet treat to honor my dad for Father’s Day. I made her play the “What Would Dad Wish For Dessert If Stranded On A Deserted Island?” game. Mom loves to play games. And she came up a winner in this round. She says he just can’t resist butter pecan ice cream.
Not having a butter pecan recipe in my possession, I turned to Elise at Simply Recipes for this winner of an ice cream. It has a smooth but striking buttery caramel flavor (your kitchen will smell like caramel heaven!), with salty crunchy toasted pecans mixed throughout. And, yes, this Butter Pecan Ice Cream IS as good as it looks! I think it’s even better than it looks, in fact. It’s an incredibly special treat, made in our kitchen to honor an incredibly special man.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
6 large egg yolks
6 T. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. heavy cream
2 c. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pecans
1 T. melted butter, plus 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt for roasting the pecans
Special equipment needed: ice cream maker
In a medium sized heat-safe bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well blended. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl half-way with ice. Set a medium sized metal bowl into the ice and pour the cream into it. Set a medium-mesh sieve on top. Set aside.
In a medium thick-bottomed saucepan with high sides, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown. Add the brown sugar and salt. It will be very thick and sludge-like. Stir until the sugar completely melts, until it looks thick and silky.
Very slowly, add the milk, stirring to incorporate. It will spit and foam up initially. Heat until all the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not let boil or the mixture may curdle.
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.
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. Now take a big whiff of your kitchen. Doesn’t it smell wonderful?! Like a caramel factory?!
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.
While the mixture is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, melt the tablespoon of butter and add the pecans, stirring to coat. Lay out the buttered pecans on a roasting pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Let cool. Once cool, roughly chop the pecans and set aside.
Once the ice cream mixture is thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
After 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 a few 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.
Yield: 1-1/2 quarts
Source: adapted from Simply Recipes