In the lead-up to Thanksgiving, I kept seeing this ice cream at Trader Joe’s.
But not only is it pricy ($4.49/quart!), it’s also very rich, dense and high-fat/high-calorie. (It boasts 15% butterfat.)
Being from Georgia, I find pecans bring back the tastes and aromas of home. So I was excited for an opportunity to incorporate the pricy nuts into our holiday meal. As an added bonus, my boyfriend likes to tease about how Chinese people are “stealing all the pecans.” So discussion of pecans always generates a jingoistic jape or two about our patriotic duty to wrest our prized American nuts back from the Chinese.
My parents, who still live in the South, were recently lamenting to me how a farmer friend attempted to foist surplus pecans off on them. Far from rejoicing at the windfall of these prized nuts, they were gravely offended. Here in California, I can’t find the brown brains (totally just made that moniker up; not sure if the Valdosta lobby would have my head for it) for less than $15/lb. But in pockets of the rural South, they’re still so plentiful that farmers don’t even bother to take all that they produce to market, preferring to leave them on the ground to rot. … Or fob them off on my parents in some kind of passive aggressive, “You’re worth nothing more to me than my Pecan Nut Glut!” maneuver. (That’s how my suspicious parents interpreted it, anyway; it could have been an entirely innocent or unthinking gesture.) Anyway — business opportunity! Countdown till a pack of crafty Chinese entrepreneurs takes up residence in the Deep South to export pecans to the motherland. Siiiit-com alert!
If you’d like to make a homemade pecan pie ice cream, try this recipe! This is what I made for our Thanksgiving this year. Adapted from a recipe by Sidney Fry, MS, RD that appeared in the June 2013 issue of Cooking Light.
Saturated fat: 3.1g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.9g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4g
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1 slice pecan pie
splash of bourbon
Combine half-and-half, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and evaporated milk in a medium heavy saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to milk mixture. Heat milk mixture to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove pan from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until a thermometer registers 160°, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until egg mixture is cool, stirring occasionally. Pour milk mixture through a fine sieve into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; discard solids. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you have the Breville Smart Scoop, for example, you will set the desired hardness, then it will prompt you to add “mix-ins” (the smashed up pecan pie slice) about 80% through the cycle. Use this time to add bourbon to the mix too, if you’d like. Upon completion, rock out to the tinny recording of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.”
Final step: Eat it fast! This stuff won’t keep as long as commercial ice cream. And it’s the holidays. Save the sanctimonious juice fasting for January.