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July 3, 2017

A to Z of Homemade Ice Cream: Apple Butter Pecan

by Julieta Lucca

To kick off the A to Z of Homemade Ice Cream we keep things nice and simple with an Apple Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

Apples are an incredible fruit! They are so versatile and there are so many ways of using them in both sweet and savoury dishes.

If you are Vegan, you’ll know that Apple Puree is heavily used in Vegan baking – but what about Apple Butter?

The toffee-like flavour is enhanced with the use of brown sugar, and although its texture is not exactly like caramel, it can be easily used as a replacement for it. If you are a fan of apples, you’ll have to give this recipe a go.

What type of apples to use?

In short, pretty much any you like.

You can even use a combination of different apples to get a unique flavour profile. We used dessert apples because they are easy to find and the results are great.

Don’t settle for this recipe though, create your own kind of apple butter, play around with types of sugars to discover new flavours.

A Custard Based Ice Cream

Throughout this series, we will be looking at different ways of making ice cream to include vegan options and other traditional methods. Today, we look at a custard-based ice cream which incorporates egg yolks to achieve a more silky smooth and rich texture. We adapted the recipe from Melissa Clark’s which is featured in The New York Times and can be found here. Her recipe calls for 6 egg yolks, but we reduced ours to 3. We will be using this same base for a lot of other flavours throughout the series.


🕑 2 days

  • makes 850ml

for the custard base

  • 480g heavy cream (double cream)
  • 240g whole milk
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 large egg yolks

for the apple butter

  • 1.25kg apples (washed and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pecans (chopped, for later)



– Place the bowl of your ice cream machine in the freezer.

For the custard base: make sure your ingredients are out of the fridge and ready to be used. Combine the heavy cream, whole milk, sugar and salt in a deep saucepan. Place it on the hob and simmer just until the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. You don’t want this mixture to be too hot or else it will scramble the eggs. If you can stick your (clean) fingers and can’t feel any grains of sugar, it’s ready.

– In another bowl, break up the egg yolks by whisking lightly. Remove the pan from the hob and slowly add 1/3 of the liquid into the egg yolks whisking constantly to help the egg yolks adapt to the higher temperature. Once done add everything back again into the saucepan.

– Cook the mixture on a low heat until it coats the back of your spoon. You can then run your finger through the custard. If the path your finger made is intact, it’s ready. Or you can test whether it’s at 170C degrees with a kitchen thermometer.

– Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and let it cool at room temperature. Once cool, cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the apple butter: wash and cut all the apples then place them in a large saucepan.

– Mix the cinnamon, sugars and salt and add it to the apples. Then the lemon juice and mix all together. Place the saucepan on the hob and cook on medium for 1 hour, mixing every now and again. Once it’s achieved a mushy consistency you may wish to keep cooking it, in which case you will develop a stronger flavour, or you can process it if you rather have a smooth apple butter. We left it as is.

– Let the apple butter come to room temperature before you distribute it across jars. Keep in the fridge or freeze until needed.


– Set your ice cream machine up – ready to be used. We used the Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Maker. Remove the custard from the fridge and add it to the bowl of the ice cream machine while rotating. Let the ice cream churn for at least 20 minutes, then you can start adding spoonfuls of the apple butter to the ice cream. The rotating motion will help spread the butter throughout. It’s up to you how much apple butter you want to use. We used 300g of apple butter.

– The ice cream should churn for 35 minutes before you add the chopped pecans and transfer it to a container. Freeze the ice cream overnight before serving.

Serve it up!

– This Apple Butter & Pecan Ice Cream exceeded expectations. It’s sweet enough with a substantial apple flavour.

If you are not a fan of apples, this might not be for you, but nothing should stop you from substituting the apple butter for Dulce de Leche; after all, the custard base is just that, a base!

Ready to give it a go? Share your ice cream creations with us!

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