- Posted February 20, 2013 by
Tasty Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Butter pecan ice cream was one of the top five ice creams from previous surveys of the International Ice Cream Association (IICA) of their member companies (which manufacture and distribute ice creams in the United States). An interesting flavor bringing vanilla, butter and pecan together, butter pecan ice cream is a staple in many ice cream shop menus and artisanal ice cream makers.
The base of a butter pecan ice cream is usually vanilla ice cream but ice cream makers may produce the ice cream itself directly. The result is that unmistakeable delicate buttery flavor that brings out the best in the freshest of milk and cream. Chopped pecans not only contribute flavor and aroma but also provide the crunchy texture of this popular ice cream flavor. Similar in taste and make to this ice cream is salted caramel ice cream with butter pecans, though its emphasis is on the salty addition to the ice cream—a perfect contrast to the sweetness of caramel.
Butter pecan ice cream ranges from vanilla white in color, with flecks of crushed pecan to pale cream, light caramel, or tan, depending on the brand or maker. The butter roasted pecan pieces peak through the smooth ice cream. To make the butter pecan ice cream, the first step is to toast the chopped pecans with butter until lightly browned. Some recipes add salt to the butter during the toasting process, which further enriches the flavor of the pecans.
Then, the pecans are set aside while the custard base is made. Milk is heated with the brown sugar before it’s whisked into the egg yolks. The brown sugar further adds to the caramel flavor (as well as color) of this ice cream. The pecans are added last before churning.
Another way of making this popular ice cream flavor involves a few more steps. First, the coarsely chopped pecans are toasted in butter until fragrant then sprinkled with brown sugar. The sugar will melt onto the pecans, caramelizing it. A separate batch of pecans is toasted without butter before it’s added to the ingredients of the custard base—milk, some more brown sugar and the separately whisked egg yolk. The un-buttered pecans is strained out of the mixture while the first caramelized batch is added in its place.