maple pecan ice cream
I’ve always loved ice cream. I mean, what’s not to love? Growing up I definitely steered towards the sweet fudgy flavors but as I’ve grown older I find myself craving the richness of butter pecan. It’s so creamy and buttery and pecany, it’s hard to decided which is the best part, the cream or the pecans. Butter pecan also happens to be my grandma CB’s favorite ice cream flavor and anytime something reminds me of her it makes me happy. After countless days of 90+ degree heat, I decided it was time to make myself some delicious butter pecan inspired ice cream with a twist… a bit of pure maple syrup.
I did a few things to jazz up my ice cream. The first was to toast the pecans in a little butter and brown sugar. Delicious, right? The other thing I decided to do was use maple syrup as the main sweetener because maple syrup and pecans just go together. After making the custard I put it in the fridge to cool for a few hours, then churned it in my ice cream maker. In order to make sure the pecans were well mixed into the ice cream, I waited to put them in until the ice cream had firmed up a bit.
It’s not going to be a surprise when I tell you this stuff is good. I mean real good. The maple syrup adds this perfect sweetness to the cream base that just makes you stop and savor each spoonful. Oh, and about those spoonfuls, pecans make their way into each one because I used a whole cup of them. They’re just slightly sweet and buttery and the perfect pairing with the maple base. It’s an all-around delicious dessert. I think grandma would approve.
maple pecan ice cream
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart
1 cup pecans
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Add pecans and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook for another minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small heavy saucepan, heat 1/4 cup maple syrup over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and 1 cup of the cream, still whisking constantly. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and remaining 1/2 cup cream in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth.
Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4-6 minutes. Do not let the custard boil.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla.
Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubers and water. Stir occasionally until cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
Pour the custard into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When nearly frozen and the consistency of thick whipped cream, add the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup and the pecans. Stir until just mixed.
Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.