Custards have always scared me away, but it has only taken a couple of tries to figure out that making a custard is really one of the most basic, most delicious skills one can have in the kitchen. A world of new desserts and ice cream options are open to me now, and I had a craving for what probably is my favourite... butter pecan ice cream. This is David Lebovitz's recipe from the Perfect Scoop and it is insanely rich and flavourful. Don't snack on too many buttered pecans like I did though, it looks like a lot, but the amount is just right.
Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream
5 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used light)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
3/4 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
6 large egg yolks (I used 5 because that's all I had and had no problems ;) )
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp Scotch whiskey (I used Johnnie Walker Red Label)
To make the buttered pecans
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp coarse salt
To make the buttered pecans, toss the pecans, butter and salt and bake on a Silpat or parchment paper in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, tossing once. You can prep these a day in advance and store in the fridge to have them chilled before adding to the ice cream.
For the ice cream, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan, add the salt and brown sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk and half of the cream and heat but do not boil, stirring occasionally. While this is coming up to temperature put the remaining cream into a medium mixing bowl (I use a 6-cup Pyrex measure for this as it is excellent for chilling the custard and pouring it into the ice cream maker) and put a mesh strainer on top. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well mixed and a bit lighter in colour. When the first mixture is hot (but not boiling) pour it very slowly into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour this back into the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon or heat-proof spatula. Pour this through the strainer into the remaining cream and add the pure vanilla and Scotch. Stir and put bowl into an ice bath (I use my sink with ice water) and let cool down for 10 minutes this way, stirring occasionally. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, process the ice cream as per your ice cream maker's instructions (I love the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid!), adding in the pecans during the last minute of churning or fold in by hand with a rubber spatula at the end. Scrape into a shallow freezer-proof container (preferably glass) and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.