As an exercise in self control, I laid off the brown butter for awhile. As much as I love the deep, nutty flavor it lends to all that it touches, sometimes you just need to leave well enough alone.
Plus I volunteered to make the desserts for my family’s Thanksgiving feast this year. Maybe it’s because this is my first Thanksgiving as an omnivore in many years and I’m a little out of my depth. Maybe it’s because dessert is kind of like, you know, my thing. But really, it’s because pretty much every member of my family is a better cook than I am.
But in a family of foodies, I’ve managed to carve out a dessert-y little niche for myself.
In the process of doing so, I came up with this little number: Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream Pie. Did I mention that it has a chocolate pretzel crust? And salted bourbon caramel sauce?
Because it does.
And even though it’s right there in the title, I’m going to say it again — it has brown butter pecan ice cream. It’s like butter pecan ice cream but instead of just the general impression of sweetness I usually get from butter pecan ice cream, this actually tastes like (brown) butter and pecans.
I just love me a cold dessert after a big meal. As much as I love pecan pie and pumpkin cheesecake bars, there’s something about ice cream to finish off a feast.
Especially when it has pretzels, chocolate, caramel, and bourbon thrown in for good measure. It makes my skirt fly up in a major way.
Happy holidays, indeed.
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cup raw sugar (demerara or turbinado)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 5 ounces pretzels
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or rye
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Whipped cream
- Melted chooclate
- Pretzels pieces
- Pecan pieces
- Begin making the ice cream by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring or swirling frequently. Soon after all the butter melts, it will begin to bubble and foam. Keep stirring, keeping a close eye on the color. Once it turns a light shade of brown, remove from the heat immediately and continue to stir for about 30 seconds.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, egg yolks, milk, and cream, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reached 170 degrees F, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions, stirring the pecans and ¾ of the caramel sauce in at the end. Store in the freezer if not using immediately.
- Make the caramel sauce while the ice cream batter is cooling, by stirring together the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes or until it has reached a deep amber color. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the cream and bourbon, whisking to combine. Add the salt. Cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerater.
- To make the crust, pulverize the pretzels and brown sugar in a food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with the melted butter. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the crust is baking, heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk until completely incorporated and pour over the baked pretzel crust. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- To assemble the pie, fill the crust with the ice-cream. If you freeze the ice cream before using, be sure to let it soften a bit first. Top with whipped cream, pretzel pieces, pecans, and the reserved caramel sauce. Serve immediately.