I love butter pecan ice cream, but I never order it at an ice cream parlour or get cravings for it on its own. In my food memory it is inseparably linked to blueberry pie. A flavor combination I came upon by accident in Maine one summer, when the lobster shack we were at ran out of the customary vanilla.
One of my favorite food road trips was to drive the coast of Maine for the overt purpose of enjoying the beautiful scenery. In reality, the not-so-secret mission was to eat as much lobster and blueberry pie as was humanly possible. Those trips may have been where it first dawned on me that even (or maybe especially) simple dishes like blueberry pie held the possibility of infinite variation. That small differences in technique and quality of ingredients are easily discernible. Of course this is the essence of connoisseurship of any kind, and a great source of pleasure in my life now, but you are not born knowing this, and I grew up in a family that had a weekly TV dinner night.
The point of the story is that butter pecan and blueberry pie are one of those flavor combinations made in heaven. The butter in the ice cream, enhances the butter flavors of the pie crust, and the pecans add a textural component, and nuttiness, that complement the soft, sweet, blueberry filling. So you can understand why I think a great version of this ice cream needs to have a lot of butter and nuts in it.
After a lot of searching, I have come across this recipe by Elsie Bauer on Simply Recipes that should be perfect for serving with pie. It uses 6 tablespoons of butter, that Elsie takes full advantage of by browning first before adding to the egg custard. She also uses an generous cup of pecans for a quart and a half of ice cream, and includes a comment on them that I don’t want you to miss..
Note, if you want an extra punch to this ice cream, brush the pecans with melted butter and sprinkle with salt before roasting.
As far as I’m concerned, you ALWAYS want extra punch!
Butter Pecan Ice Cream on Simply Recipes
Now of course I have to find a great recipe for blueberry pie. I like fillings that just barely hold together (minimally gelatinous), with surprising, but light spicing. My attempts at pie crust have so far been dismal, but I have heard very good reports about this one and plan to try it next.
Butter, pecans / 1.5 quarts
Mix Prep Time: 40 min
Freeze Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hour 10 min