Buttered Pecan Ice Cream

Recipe for homemade buttered pecan ice cream, old-fashioned and delicious. Plus, to pair with the ice cream, a simple recipe for Meringue Cookies, sweet and studded with pecans. Plus, an introduction to native Missouri pecans, smaller and sweeter than pecans from other regions.

Buttered Pecan Ice Cream made from Missouri native pecans

It’s time for the Show-Me State to show off its culinary gold: fingertip-tiny, syrup-sweet, native Missouri pecans.

Missouri is the northernmost reach of pecan country. Our shorter season and colder climate produce nuts that are smaller, sweeter and richer than the southern brethren.

The trees grow alongside fields and rivers, mostly in farm country near Brunswick, 50 crow-miles northwest of Columbia, and Nevada, 90 miles south of Kansas City.

Many trees are 200 years old. These days, farm entrepreneurs plant groves. “For the grandchildren,” they laugh, since trees don’t produce nuts for 15 or 20 years. Tree by tree, the nuts are painstakingly harvested in November.

Missouri pecans are Show-Me special for lucky-we-live-close cooks. Seek them out in local markets, then buy enough to last through the next harvest, allowing for new demand. Store in the freezer to keep fresh.

PECAN MERINGUE COOKIES Beat an egg white til stiff, then slowly beat in 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon table salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Fold in 1 cup chopped pecans. Using one spoon to scoop, another to scrape, arrange on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes at 325F. Makes two dozen.
ALANNA's TIPS This ice cream is barely sweet to pair with the meringue cookies. If you prefer sweeter ice cream or aren’t making the cookies, increase the maple syrup to 1 cup. This is the perfect occasion for a finishing salt such as fleur de sel.


Old-fashioned goodness
Active time: 50 minutes (20 hands-on)
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 4 cups
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (see TIPS)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon good salt (see TIPS)

Preheat oven to 350F.

CUSTARD In a large saucepan, heat milk and cream on medium, stirring often, til very hot but do not boil. Separately, whisk eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisking continuously, pour hot liquid into eggs a half cup at a time. Return to saucepan. Cook until thick, stirring continuously. (It’s done once a spoon dipped in the custard keeps a clean line when a finger is drawn across; or when an instant-read thermometer reads 170F – 175F.) Strain through a sieve into a glass container, discarding solids. Place plastic wrap on surface of custard, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

PECANS While custard cooks, melt butter in microwave in 10-second increments. Stir in pecans and salt. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Toast nuts for 8 minutes, til nuts absorb butter and turn shade darker. Cool then refrigerate.

ICE CREAM Process custard in ice cream maker til thick. Add pecans in last 5 minutes. Serve immediately or return to freezer to serve later.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per 1/2 Cup: 345 Cal; 27g Tot Fat; 11g Sat Fat; 20g Carb; 1g Fiber; 160mg Sodium; 176mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 8 points


MAPLE ICE CREAM This recipe makes a delicious maple ice cream, one of my favorites, especially served with Walnut Chocolate Cake. Just omit the pecans. For a smaller batch than specified here, in 2009 I cooked down 3/4 cup of maple syrup to 1/2 cup, then used 2 cups cream, 1 cup whole milk and just two egg yolks to make the custard. It was deliciously rich but had considerably fewer calories.
Where to purchase Missouri native pecans? The season for fresh pecans is late fall, just before Thanksgiving. Here are St Louis and Missouri locations.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
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© Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/19/2007

    Oh what a treat for a nut loving person that I am ! Sometimes it's so good to enjoy such "old fashioned goodnesses". Have a relaxing Sunday evening, angelika


  2. Anonymous7/19/2007

    That looks wonderful. My aunt made a pecan pie last year with freshly harvested and shelled pecans. It was so good, much better than pie made with the pecans sold in the store.



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