This ice cream pretty much stole the show when I made this for Thanksgiving last year. It is really really good. Note that the recipe calls for whole eggs rather than the usual egg yolks. Worked totally fine that way.
Butter Pecan Ice cream
Adapted from a recipe available from Epicurious originally published in Gourmet, 2002
2 cups shelled pecans (1/2 lb.), finely chopped (I scaled back to 1 1/2 cups, noting that many Epicurious commenters noted they thought 2 cups was too much and used less)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (doesn't need to be, as the pecans will be very hot)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spread pecans on a baking sheet (lined with foil for easy cleanup) and toast in the oven until fragrant and slightly darker, about 7 to 8 minutes (watch the nuts to avoid burning them). Remove nuts from oven, transfer to a bowl (they will be hot). Add butter and salt to hot pecans and toss until butter is melted, then set nuts aside to cool completely.
3. Stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch, then add the eggs and stir until combined (you can try using a whisk for this, since the original recipe says to "whisky" but I think using a spoon or spatula will work much better, as the whisk tends to fling ingredients too easily). Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, (reduce heat to medium-low) then add to egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly, and transfer custard to saucepan. (rather than add the hot milk to the bowl and transfer back to the pan, I just added the egg mixture to the pan while whisking constantly).
Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes (do not let boil).
Immediately pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla, then cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker until almost firm. Stir together ice cream and pecans in a bowl, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
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