Moonshine & Corn Syrup Custard with Pecans Ice Cream

Photograph: Kelsey McClellan

In this recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, a super-sweet custard is stirred into a white whiskey-flavored ice cream base and beefed up with salty, toasted pecans. It's dark, it's light, it's sweet; it's everything you could ever want from an ice cream.

Why this recipe works:

  • There's booze, toasted nuts, sweet custard, and fatty dairy. Everything one loves about ice cream, but all together in one scoop.
  • Although the flavor is unique, there's lots you can do with it. Put a scoop on top of warm cornbread. Serve between two corn cookies. Stick with the corn theme, you'll go places.
  • Excerpted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2014. Photographs by Kelsey McClellan.

    Recipe Facts

    Total: 0 mins
    Makes: 1 quart

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    • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup moonshine or white whiskey
    • 2/3 cup toasted salted pecan halves
    • 1/2 cup Corn Syrup Custard (ingredients below)
    • Corn Syrup Custard
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar or honey
    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
    • Pinch of fine sea salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup salted toasted pecan halves (optional)


    1. Make the custard: Preheat the oven to 300°F.

    2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until slightly frothy. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla and whisk very well to combine. Add the pecans, if using, and stir to coat.

    3. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the dish halfway through, until the edges are set, but the center still jiggles slightly; do not overbake. Let cool completely on a rack, then refrigerate.

    4. Make the ice cream:Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

    5. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

    6. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

    7. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

    8. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

    9. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes. Stir in the moonshine.

    10. Remove the frozen canister from the freezer, assemble your ice cream machine, and turn it on. Pour the ice cream base into the canister and spin until thick and creamy.

    11. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, layering in the pecans and custard as you go. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

    Special equipment

    Ice cream maker

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