Homemade ice cream is just the BEST. This buttery, rich ice cream is way better than store bought! It’s creamy and icy, just the way I like it. Yes, there are a lot of steps and you need a candy thermometer, but it’s oh so worth it.
The base is more like a custard because it contains eggs. I always use half & half and whole milk in my ice cream. You can substitute heavy cream for the whole milk in this recipe, but I prefer the lighter, icier consistency the whole milk gives it. Plus, I’m a firm believer in just using what I have on hand – there is never a shortage of milk in my house and we pretty much always have half & half for various reasons.
The instructions may seem a little daunting, but it’s really quite simple – and for such a decadent dessert!
In a small skillet, toast pecans in butter for 5-6 minutes. Cool completely.
In a heavy saucepan, using a candy thermometer, heat half & half to 175 degrees and stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the eggs to temper them. Return all to the pan and whisk constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees and coats the back of a metal spoon.
Remove from heat and cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the whole milk and vanilla. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the custard and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Stir in the toasted pecans right before pouring into ice cream maker. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions (usually about 20 minutes). Mixture will still be more like soft serve at this point. Spoon into a freezer container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.