Pecan Pie Ice Cream
This pecan pie ice cream is built on a base of French vanilla, with toasted pecans, cloaked in maple syrup, swirled in. Making the vanilla custard for this French-style ice cream is a delicate operation, like producing hollandaise, because of the fragile nature of eggs when they are heated. Perform this part of the recipe when you can give it your full, undivided attention. If preparing this custard in a saucepan over direct heat makes you nervous about overcooking and curdling the eggs, you can make it in a double boiler, but it will take at least 20 minutes longer to get the custard to thicken.
- Serves: 5 persons
- 2cups whole milk
- 1cup heavy cream
- ½cup light brown sugar
- 1teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1cup coarsely chopped pecans
- ⅔cup maple syrup
- 2tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- ¼teaspoon kosher salt
Step 1Place milk and cream in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the sugar. Heat on medium until scalded (about 180 degrees) — bubbles will form around the edges. Remove from heat.
Step 2Beat eggs in a small bowl until well-blended. Gradually whisk several tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, then slowly pour the egg mixture back into the pan, whisking all the while.
Step 3Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon, 6 minutes or so. As soon as you see the first wisps of steam, remove the pan from the heat. Keep stirring another 5 minutes or so as the mixture cools down. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 6 hours or overnight.
Step 4Place the pecans in a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast them, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Pour in the maple syrup and add the butter and salt. Stir to coat pecans completely. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
Step 5Add the cold custard to your ice cream maker and churn until the mixture reaches the consistency of soft ice cream, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. Fold in the cooled nuts and syrup, swirling them in so they are not thoroughly mixed in.
Step 6Transfer the ice cream to one or more containers and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. If necessary, let the ice cream soften a bit in the refrigerator or at room temperature before scooping.