Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    or More Servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Pecans were introduced to the East Coast (perhaps from Texas) by Thomas Jefferson, who moved a few trees from the Mississippi Valley to Mon-ticello, Virginia. He, in turn, gave a few trees to George Washington, who planted them at Mount Vernon. Three of those original trees are said to remain in existence.

I have a special fondness for butter pecan ice cream, and one of the finest recipes I have ever sampled is that of Patrick O’Connell, chef and co-owner of The Inn at Little Washington, a splendid establishment with elegant food in Washington, Virginia.


  • cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 1 ½ cups whole pecans
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Caramel Sauce


  • Combine 1 cup cream with the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the mixture into another container and chill thoroughly. A film will form on top when the mixture is chilled. Remove this film.
  • Heat the butter in a heavy skillet and add the pecans. Cook, shaking the skillet and stirring, until the pecans begin to brown. Strain but reserve both the butter and pecans.
  • Put the yolks in a mixing bowl and add ½ cup sugar. Beat thoroughly.
  • Bring the remaining cups cream and ½ cup sugar to the boil in a heavy saucepan. Slowly pour half this mixture into the egg mixture, beating constantly. Return this mixture to the saucepan with the remaining cream-and-sugar mixture and heat gently without boiling, or the egg might curdle. Stir in the reserved butter in which the pecans were cooked, and add the vanilla. Pour and scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the chilled cream mixture. Add the pecans and pour and scrape the mixture into the container of a hand-cranked or electric ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Serve with caramel sauce.