Just when you thought butter pecan ice cream couldn’t get any more delicious, Ciao Bella created this bourbon-spiked variation. Use a lower-proof bourbon like Buffalo Trace to ensure ideal freezing.
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2⁄3 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1⁄4 cup bourbon
1 cup roasted pecan halves, frozen
Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring frequently, until it melts completely and just turns a light golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a medium heatproof bowl, and let cool slightly.
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F.
Meanwhile, whisk the sugar with the butter until smooth, then whisk in the egg yolks until well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185°F. Do not bring to a boil.
Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cool completely, stirring often. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Gently whisk the bourbon into the custard. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the pecans 5 minutes before the churning is completed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
Makes 1 quart.
F.W. Pearce and Danilo Zecchin, The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto, (Clarkson Potter, 2010)