Makes @ 1 1/2 – 2 quarts
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 tsp fine salt
2 cups pecans, chopped and toasted
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream**
1 1/2 cups brown sugar***
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Toast pecans on a sheet pan for 5-10 minutes. Until they smell delicious. Err on the side of undertoasting if you don’t have nut toasting confidence. Melt butter, stir in salt. Put aside. Once nuts come out of oven toss them in a bowl with the butter mixture. Cover and set aside.
Warm cream and buttermilk together on medium in a high-sided pot, whisking occasionally, until it is just steaming. Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and eggs.
Once cream and buttermilk are steaming, slowly stream into egg mixture, tempering the eggs. If the buttermilk looks a bit curdled, (mine did too), it’s ok. It tends to even out in the next stage. Pour back into the pot and heat on medium, whisking continually, until it the mixture coats the back of a spoon, 170-175 degrees. Do not boil.
Strain into bowl. This will catch any buttermilk bits that did curdle, but mine was clean. Stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for 2 hours or until cool.
Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the nuts in the last five minutes of churning.
** I used 1 part half and half, 1 part heavy cream, 2 parts buttermilk, simply because I didn’t have enough heavy cream in my apartment. It was fine, but 2 parts cream to 2 parts buttermilk would be better for mouthfeel
***I made my own brown sugar. Though the sugar didn’t look dark, I think I added too much molasses and it came out molasses-forward, which actually went over big with most people. So, you could use dark brown sugar, or add a tablespoon of molasses to your custard if you like that sort of thing, or even just do granulated sugar if you’re not into that whole molasses taste.