Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream
8 oz. (one block) room-temperature cream cheese
1/2 cup room-temperature brown butter
14 oz. (one can) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 cups heavy cream, very cold
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
For brown butter:
Place 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Allow butter to melt and foam. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until butter turns a dark amber color. You will have to push the foam aside in order to see the color of the butter underneath.
Once browned, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof measuring cup. You might need to add a couple tablespoons of soft butter to make up for evaporation during the browning process and ensure you have 1/2 cup. Allow to cool to room temperature.
For toasted pecans:
Place one tablespoon of butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat (I just steal a little of the browned butter for this). Once melted, add 1 cup chopped pecans and toast, stirring almost constantly, for about 5 minutes until they smell very toasty and nutty. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
For ice cream:
Place softened cream cheese, browned butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla in a stand mixer. Mix on medium-high speed with whisk attachment until light and fluffy and no cream cheese chunks remain. You’ll want to stop and scrape the sides and bottom a couple times to make sure it is all mixed.
Once mixture is fluffy and totally combined, scrape sides and bottom of bowl once more and add cream. Continue whipping until mixture is very light and fluffy, much like whipped cream. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t be afraid to really let the mixer rip here — you want to incorporate plenty of air.
Once mixture is very light and very fluffy, remove whisk attachment and gently fold in cooled pecans. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in freezer.
Chill until firm and enjoy!
I freeze this in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Just make sure whatever you choose has about a 2-quart capacity.