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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

When my grandparents were visiting, my grandma and I were walking into the grocery store when she casually mentioned that she'd love to try my homemade ice cream sometime. Now if you know my grandma, you know she doesn't ask for much. In fact, she's one of the most selfless, generous people I know. When she made that offhand request, I knew I couldn't wait until her next visit...the ice cream had to be made NOW. I immediately placed a call to Ryan and asked him to stick the ice cream bowl into the freezer. Then, I started to brainstorm what flavor to make. It needed to be something impressive, something decadent...butter pecan was the first to pop into my mind!

Thanks to my handy dandy iphone, I looked up a recipe in the store and made sure I had all of the essentials. The ice cream itself became a team effort, with Ryan, Grandma, and I all taking our fair share of turns stirring the butter and waiting for it to brown. Our patience paid off and after an overnight chill in the fridge and some churning before church, we had ice cream...less than twenty-four hours after the request was uttered.

Sure, it's slightly more complicated than picking up a pint of Ben and Jerry's or visiting the local custard shop. I'm known to do both, probably more than the average person, but there is just something spectacular about the quality of ice cream you get when you make it in your own kitchen. Seriously, pay me a visit and I'll show you, because I think everyone deserves to try the amazingness that is homemade ice cream!

A quick note about the butter pecan ice cream---the flavor was SPOT ON. I was literally squealing with excitement while the ice cream churned because I couldn't get over how accurate the flavor was. Every single person I shared this with (I don't always hoard my ice cream, just when it's banana pudding flavored ;)) agreed with me...and even endured giant spoons to enjoy (see picture below!)!

One Year Ago: Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
from simply recipes

-6 large egg yolks
-6 tbsp butter
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 cups whole milk
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 cup pecans (I used a mixture of whole and chopped)

1. In a heat-safe bowl, whisk together egg yolks until well blended. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown. Add brown sugar and salt, stirring until sugar melts (note: the mixture will be thick and grainy.  It will smooth out again once you add the milk.)
3. Slowly add the milk, stirring to incorporate (may foam up slightly, be sure to use a pan with high-ish sides). Continue to heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let the mixture boil!
4. Slowly pour half of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to combine. Add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom while stirring. Heat until mixture slightly thickens and coats the spatula (5-7 minutes).
6. Pour the custard through a sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the chilled heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and chill mixture thoroughly (preferably overnight) in the refrigerator.
7. Toast pecans on a baking sheet at 350F for 6 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
8. Once ice cream mixture is chilled, freeze according to the ice cream manufacturer's instructions. Once fully churned, stir in prepared pecans and transfer ice cream to a container to freeze for at least an hour (will need several hours of freezing if you don't want it super soft).