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Monday, July 25, 2011

butterscotch pecan ice cream.

Oh butterscotch pecan ice cream~ You're so delicious I could eat a whole bowlful of you~

I can't stop doing those funny little "~" signs when it comes to ice cream. Help me. Correction- when it comes to really really good ice creams. Like for my vanilla bean gelato. Oh yeah, that's outta-this-world awesome!

Homemade ice creams easily are easy to tell because of their freshness. I don't mean picking up a pint of ice cream at your grocery store, go back home, dig in and say, "Hmm... This is like 2 weeks old already." I don't know anyone who could deduce that anyway. I mean by judging from the crunchiness of the mix-ins.  If your scoop of ice cream has soggy pretzels, you know that it was made 2 or 3 days ago. Likewise, if your mix-ins, like nuts and oreos, are still crunchy, you got yourself some freshly made ice cream!

Basically, I'm saying that I've had some pretty great butter pecan ice cream, but most of them had soggy pecans nuts. I took that as an unchangeable fact, until today. This homemade batch had pecans that were still crunchy and buttery with a hint of salt. And the base, although not super smooth and creamy because I altered the recipe and used whole milk, plus the fact that I don't have an ice cream machine, had a caramel-ly depth of flavour.

I tinkered with the recipe a little- changing the use of heavy cream and whole milk to just whole milk and omitting the scotch because I didn't have any. Consequently, the texture is much icier than it should be, but that didn't get in my way of finishing oh I don't know... 3/4 of the whole container? Luckily, I made only a third of the recipe or I'd be 100% willing to live in ice cream for days!

This is the first time I used egg yolks to make ice cream. I used cornstarch for my previous cookies and milk popsicles and vanilla bean gelato with stellar results- creamy and a clean flavour. I think I prefer the cornstarch method. Not only is it less fussy, you don't have to worry about overheating your custard.

As much as I love homemade ice cream, I don't like the way they freeze completely hard. I had to transfer the containers to the defrost section of the fridge and the edges soften much faster than the centre if I leave it there for a short while but wait too long and the ice cream is too soft. I know that alcohol is one way for the ice cream to remain soft but I want to know about gelatin instead. Does it really work? Is the texture of the ice cream much more scoop-able?

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop

For the buttered pecans:
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups pecan nuts
1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the ice cream:
5 tbsp butter 
3/4 cup dark brown sugar 
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the buttered pecans, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Melt the butter in a skillet. Remove from the heat and toss the pecans with butter until evenly coated. Sprinkle with the salt. Spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-12 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. If desired, coarsely chop the pecans before adding them to the ice cream.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the brown sugar and salt. Stir in 1 cup of the heavy cream, and the whole milk. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream in a mixing bowl with a fine mesh sieve set over the top.
Place the egg yolks in a separate medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly add the warm sugar-cream mixture to the egg yolks to temper. Continue until all of the liquid has been incorporated. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat. Continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches 170-175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the sieve and into the bowl with the cream. Stir in the vanilla. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. (To speed chilling, stir over an ice bath.)
Once the mixture is completely chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container and gently fold in the buttered pecans until evenly incorporated.  Freeze until firm.
Linked to These Chicks Cooked, Sweet Treats Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Sweet Indulgences Sunday.


  1. This was always one of my mom's favorite flavors of ice cream. Sounds great!

  2. Hi Amanda,
    I would just love your ice cream. It is a great combination! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon. Hope you are having a great week!
    Miz Helen

  3. Thanks so much for linking up this week! Your desserts always look incredible. You are just so impressive to me!!

    {Sweet Treats Thursday}