Retha's Butter Pecan Ice Cream

This incredibly rich ice cream, studded with toasted nuts, is ideal served with pecan pie, but tastes just as good on a cone
By Ashbell McElveen
Retha's Butter Pecan Ice Cream
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1.5 litres
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 3 hrs cooling and freezing
  • Effort: medium



  • 75 g pecan halves
  • 200 g light brown sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • squeeze of lemon juice


1. Preheat the grill to medium.

2. Break the pecan nuts into small pieces and scatter across the grill pan in a single layer. Toast under the preheated grill for 1-2 minutes, turning frequently. Set aside.

3. Place the sugar, water and salt in a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

4. Place the whole eggs and egg yolks in a bowl and beat together.

5. Transfer the syrup to an ovenproof bowl and gradually add the beaten eggs.

6. Place the ovenproof bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water and stir the syrup mixture until it coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract, then leave to cool. Meanwhile, place a 2-litre freezerproof container in the freezer to chill.

7. Add the milk and double cream to the cooled syrup mixture.

8. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream, then add the lemon juice and fold the cream into the mixture.

9. Pour the mixture into the chilled container, cover and freeze. When just beginning to freeze, remove from the freezer, stir thoroughly and return to the freezer. When the mixture is half frozen, remove from the freezer and stir in the toasted pecan pieces, then return to the freezer for 2-3 hours, until firm.

10. Serve the ice cream with pecan pie or eat on a cone.

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