Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Wild Turkey and Pecan Ice Cream

Posted on: November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


I thought up this recipe one day while I was shopping for calvados at my local liquor store. They had a little bin of liquor nips to choose from for only $1 each. I ended up picking up a tiny bottle of honey flavored Wild Turkey liquor on a whim. I’d never really heard of this brand before, but I loved the fun name! One day when I was brainstorming for possible Thanksgiving flavored ice creams, my mind suddenly wandered back to the little unopened bottle of Wild Turkey in my cabinet. Eureka! The perfect flavor for Thanksgiving and a playful homage to the big roast bird. I added pecans because not only do they complement the Wild Turkey, but they remind me of good ol’ American pecan pie, another Thanksgiving staple.


I tamed the Wild Turkey!


I actually live in area that has lots of real wild turkeys roaming around. The first time I saw them I was intrigued and  foolishly tried to call them over to me. Big mistake. As I soon discovered, wild turkeys are very aggressive and territorial. They tried to attack me and had I not found a stick to defend myself with, I surely would have been turkey-chow. Whenever I see a turkey now, I can’t help but chuckle to myself in revenge and think of cranberry sauce and gravy.


Toasted pecans


As always, I recommend toasting and cooling the pecans before adding them to the ice cream. Toasting nuts and spices is an incredible flavor booster. It somehow makes them taste more buttery and definitely adds a succulent roasty flavor.


Churn it up!


The Wild Turkey, a type of bourbon, tasted wonderful in the vanilla scented ice cream. The use of honey flavored Wild Turkey paired particularly well with the sweetness of the ice cream and the buttery crunch of the toasted pecans. It ended up tasting like a very adult, frozen reimagined pecan pie. As you may have noticed, I tend to use a lot of liquors in my recipes (I’m not a boozer, I swear!). My reason for this is that liquors are simply one of the greatest flavor enhancers you can use in ice cream. And let me tell you, this fun and delicious Thanksgiving recipe proves it. Needless to say, at my house we all “gobbled” it up! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and have a happy Wild Turkey Day!


Wild Turkey and Pecan Ice Cream Recipe


1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2/3 cup white sugar

5  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans


      1.) Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.     Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.


2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.


3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6-7 minutes.


4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt, vanilla extract and bourbon and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.  When ice cream is ready, add chopped pecans. Enjoy!


Make it a sundae!


You could bring out the pecan-pie flavors in this ice cream even more by creating a pecan pie sundae! Drizzle this ice cream with homemade butterscotch sauce or dulce de leche flavored with a few pinches of ground cinnamon and cloves. Top with more toasted pecans and whipped cream. Garnish with a few pie crust pieces, baked until golden brown and cooled. Enjoy!


The lighter side– Feel to substitute whole milk or half and half for the heavy cream in this recipe. If anything it will only make the flavors more intense, which is the reason gelati is often made this way in Italy.


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