Make Ahead

Buttered Pecan Ice Cream

August 28, 2012
0 Ratings
  • Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter (the best quality - i.e., imported) you can find!
  • 4 ounces jumbo whole pecan halves
  • 3 cups creamline (whole) milk
  • 2/3 cup organic dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Bourbon Madagascar vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. 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.
  2. Scald the milk in the top of a double boiler.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • drbabs
  • AntoniaJames
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator

2 Reviews

drbabs June 3, 2013
I love butter pecan ice cream, too, and yours sounds wonderful.
AntoniaJames August 28, 2012
Oh, my, this looks positively divine! I love butter pecan ice cream but agree that most of it can be so disappointing. I've been hoping to see a good butter pecan entered into this contest. It happens to be Mr. T's favorite ice cream in all the world (A Southern boy, he'd put butter pecan ice cream on his pecan pie!) so I look forward to making this for him. I agree, too, that it's a great flavor for the winter months. I think it would be just perfect atop a slice of pumpkin pie! Thanks so much for posting this. ;o)