Butter Pecan is/was the favorite ice cream flavor of my best friend and my “Other Mother,” so I 've been making it for a long time. This iteration bears little resemblance to commercial Butter Pecan Ice Creams, because the dark brown sugar (not to mention the buttered pecans) lend an unmistakeable butterscotch flavor. It’s especially wonderful during the winter holidays. Using really good salted butter lends a wonderful "salted caramel" flavor. —ChefJune
about 1 1/2 quarts
salted butter (the best quality - i.e., imported) you can find!
jumbo whole pecan halves
creamline (whole) milk
organic dark brown sugar
fine sea salt
extra large eggs
Bourbon Madagascar vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
Melt the butter in an 8-inch sauté pan. Add the pecans and toast them for about 5 or 6 minutes – until their aroma permeates the room. (You have to watch them closely. The butter will brown along with the nuts but you don't want them to burn.) Turn the nuts out onto a board and coarsely chop them. Set them aside in a bowl to cool.
Scald the milk in the top of a double boiler.
Mix sugar and salt. Add about ½ cup of the hot milk, by one-ounce ladlefuls, stirring to mix well. Return to the double boiler and stir over boiling water until slightly thickened.
Beat the eggs and add a small portion of the hot mixture, again using one-ounce ladlefuls stirring constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Return to the remaining hot mixture and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats a metal spoon. Chill thoroughly.
Add the vanilla extract and cream, and freeze in a hand-crank or electric freezer, following the instructions given with either. About 2 minutes before the ice cream is finished, add the chopped pecans (and any remaining butter).
Teacher’s Tip: Make the ice cream up to step 4 and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, it’s a snap to add the cream and churn it to perfect consistency. Do let it “set up” in the freezer for several hours before serving so the flavor reaches its peak.