Sunday, September 9, 2012

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

Once again, magical things happened when I use David Lebovitz's book, The Perfect Scoop, to make ice cream (even when I slightly modify the recipe). This time it was a butterscotch flavored custard ice cream with buttered pecans. I have never been a big fan of store bought ice cream with nuts; the texture just never seemed right to me. Thankfully, that is not a problem with this ice cream. The nuts stay nice and crunchy, and are a really nice contrast to the creamy ice cream.

Butterscotch Ice Cream
5 tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Buttered Pecans
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecan halves
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp brown sugar 

You start off by making the butterscotch that is going to flavor the ice cream. Melt the 5 tbsp of butter and add the brown sugar. Mix with a wooden spoon until it is completely incorporated. Add the salt and stir. I let it bubble for a few minutes to develop the flavor.

Add half the cream, the milk, and the vanilla to the butterscotch and stir until combined. Heat this mixture up, but do not let it boil. You then want to make a custard. Whisk your egg yolks in a separate bowl. Then, you want to temper the eggs. Very slowly add about half of the warm cream mix to the egg yolks while stirring vigorously. The goal is to get the temperature of the yolks up slowly so that they don't scramble. Combine that with the cream left it in the pot and return to the heat.

Over medium heat, stir the custard continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom. You want this custard to thicken significantly. Keep an eye out on it because the thickening happens from one second to the next. The custard is ready when you can run a finger down the back of the spoon and get clean lines. Once it is ready, strain the custard into the remaining cream (which you have placed in a bowl over an ice bath). Chill this mixture in the fridge (or freezer) until very cold to make churning faster.

While the custard cools in the fridge, you want to make your buttered pecans. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and then add the pecans and just stir until coated. Lay out the pecans on a baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes (they will smell nice and toasted when they are about ready). Be careful here too, because they can burn easily. This next step isn't from David's book, but I actually sprinkled the hot pecans with a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and mixed it. The brown sugar melted a little and gave the pecans a nice sweetness when they are in the ice cream. Cool these completely before using.

Finally, churn your ice cream according to your machine's instructions. When the ice cream is nearly ready, add your buttered pecans and churn for another minute or two. This will distribute the pecans and freeze the ice cream a little bit more around the pecans. Then scoop and enjoy.

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