A question about a recipe: Browned Butter Pecan Ice Cream

I have a question about the recipe "Browned Butter Pecan Ice Cream" from MrsMehitabel. I don't have that much experience with clarified butter and I am a little confused. Do I leave the foam that rises to the top as the butter browns? Is this part of the "milk solids" that I need to incorporate into the base?

  • Posted by: fhp
  • June 22, 2013
  • 1560 views
  • 6 Comments
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Recipe question for: Browned Butter Pecan Ice Cream

3 Comments

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pierino
pierino June 22, 2013

I'm not familiar with the recipe you are attempting but the whole purpose of clarifying butter is to remove those solids and white foam by skimming them off. If the recipe author wants you to retain them then I suppose you can.

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fhp
fhp June 22, 2013

Thanks Pierino. Have you looked at the Browned Butter Pecan Recipe? Exactly, hence my confusion. Sounds as though we need to incorporate everything but the remaining clarified butter. LOL. I live with an Italian who is nauseated by the smell of browning butter.

fhp
fhp June 22, 2013

Thanks Pierino. Have you looked at the Browned Butter Pecan Recipe? Exactly, hence my confusion. Sounds as though we need to incorporate everything but the remaining clarified butter. LOL. I live with an Italian who is nauseated by the smell of browning butter.

ChefOno
ChefOno June 22, 2013

There's a wonderful kitchen science lesson here and an important culinary one as well:

There is a significant difference between clarified butter and browned butter. Most (but not all) of the flavor of beurre noisette is in the little brown bits that settle to the bottom of the pan as it's made.

After the butter melts, the water portion separates and rises to form a foam with the whey proteins. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind a film of protein which is typically discarded. The fat portion, if poured off now, would be clarified butter. On the bottom are the milk sugars and casein particles ("milk solids") which, if heated further, brown as they react together in a classic Maillard reaction. The pan now contains browned butter. The fat, separately, would be ghee.

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fhp
fhp June 22, 2013

Thank you this is very helpful. I have watched at least 4 you tubes on the subject today. Your carefully worded answer is a wonderful synthesis of what I have learned. I can't believe that 10 months ago I finished a 2 year stint as a raw vegan and now I pay homage to the Beurre Noisette. However that too was
a wonderful education in the science of flavor.

ChefOno
ChefOno June 23, 2013

Two tips: Use a stainless pan so you can accurately judge the browning process and keep a dish of cold water handy to arrest the cooking if necessary. Timing is critical; brown turns to black in a matter of seconds. (Just touch the pan to the water for a second or two; any longer can warp the pan.)

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