Jul 11
2009

Pine Nut & Brown Sugar Ice Cream

Pine Nut & Brown Sugar Ice Cream

Curiosity killed the cat.  Or so the saying goes.  This seemed to hold water when my son decided to investigate the projectile qualities of a handful of mud.  Typically, this wouldn’t cause much of a problem.  The mud that he launched, however, was traveling westbound into a strong eastbound wind.  It was the literal representation of “mud on your face”.

I hoped that curiosity wouldn’t kill this cat as I started to make this ice cream.  Pine nuts?  They only belong on salads and in pesto.  Au contraire, my fine foodie friend.  This had to be the single most heavenly ice cream experience I have ever had.  The pine nuts produced an ice cream flavor similar to that of hazelnut gelato, which I fell in love with in Italy many years ago. When brown sugar is added to the mix, a creamy, nutty, caramel-like flavor is the reward. When I was scooping out the ice cream, a few clumps landed on the counter and melted. As I am without shame, I simply stuck my mouth on the counter and slurped.  That’s how good it was.  There’s no mud on this face – only ice cream.
I thought it would be a good idea to add chocolate to this ice cream, which is why you see chunks of chocolate in the photo above.  Don’t do it!  The chocolate tried to steal the show from the pine nuts and brown sugar but, luckily, was beaten down tiny pine nut sticks.  Moving on.
Place 1 cup of pine nuts into a medium saute pan and set over medium heat.  Toast until the pine nuts are golden brown, stirring frequently.  Do not leave these guys alone.  One minute they’re raw and the next they’re burned to a crisp.

Let the pine nuts cool for 5 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse until the pine nuts are fairly smooth. Pine nut butter! 



Whisk 5 egg yolks together in a small bowl.

Stir a couple of teaspoons of the pine nut puree, which will still be warm, into the egg yolks. This will temper the egg yolks so that they don’t curdled when added to the rest of the pine nut puree. 


Scrape the egg yolk mixture into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined.

Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.


Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth.

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups heavy cream and 2 cup half-and-half. You could use whole milk in place of the half-and-half. I chose to follow the advice of the Pioneer Woman, who swears by the use of half-and-half to make ice cream extra creamy. Who am I to argue?


Heat over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Do not boil the milk. With the machine running, slowly pour about half of the cream mixture into the tube of the food processor to combine with the pine nut mixture.


When the mixture is smooth, pour it back into the saucepan with the rest of cream mixture.


Cook the mixture over low to medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

I thought I was so smart to draw a line with my finger through the custard to show you how nicely it coated the back of the spoon. That is, until I saw that it exposed the reflection of my camera in the spoon. Stellar camera work, don’t you think? 

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the custard through the strainer to remove any lumps.


Stir in 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt.



Chill the mixture for 2-4 hours. The wait was excruciating! 

Once the wait is over, pour chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and proceed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In the instructions for my ice cream maker, it says nothing about sticking my finger in every 5 minutes to test the mixture. I’m writing a letter.



Once the mixture thickens (yes folks, we have ice cream), scoop it into a plastic container and freeze for a couple of hours. Unless soft serve ice cream is our thing. In that case, pull out a spoon and get to work.


Scoop and serve. Garnish with a few toasted pine nuts, if you’d like.

Other nutty ice creams:

Je Mange la Ville’s Pistachio Ice Cream
Chocolate & Zucchini’s Nutella Ice Cream
Pine Nut & Brown Sugar Ice Cream
1 cup pine nuts, plus extra for garnishing
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Place 1 cup of pine nuts into a medium saute pan and set over medium heat.  Toast until the pine nuts are golden brown, stirring frequently.  Let the pine nuts cool for 5 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse until the pine nuts are fairly smooth.
Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl.  Stir a couple of teaspoons of the pine nut puree, which will still be warm, into the egg yolks. This will temper the egg yolks so that they don’t curdled when added to the rest of the pine nut puree.  Scrape the egg yolk mixture into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined.  Add the granulated and brown sugars. Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth.
In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and half-and-half.  Heat over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Do not boil the milk. With the machine running, slowly pour about half of the cream mixture into the tube of the food processor to combine with the pine nut mixture.  When the mixture is smooth, pour it back into the saucepan with the rest of cream mixture.  Cook the mixture over low to medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the custard through the strainer to remove any lumps.  Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.  Chill the mixture for 2-4 hours.
Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and proceed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Once the mixture turns into ice cream, scoop it into a plastic container and freeze for a couple of hours.  Scoop and serve. Garnish with a few toasted pine nuts, if you’d like.
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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 janet July 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm

What a unique recipe, it looks lovely!

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2 Angie's Recipes July 11, 2009 at 3:44 pm

The ice cream looks awesome!
Angie's Recipes

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3 Bellini Valli July 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Wouldn't this be perfect on a hot summer day like today!!!

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4 HannahBanana aka Amanda July 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I can't imagine a more unique and tasty ice cream. Anything with a caramel nut flavor blows my mind…and the fact that you used pine nuts…WOW! There goes the diet!
Just emailed this to myself…I've been a good girl…time for a treat!

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5 Jenn July 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I wish I had an ice cream maker!! Looks like an awesome combination right here!!!! Make sure you save some for me.

PS. I left you an award on m blog today. ;-)

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6 Cherry Blossom July 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

This not only sounds fantastic it looks wonderful!! thanks – cheers alissa

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7 Mama Mel July 11, 2009 at 9:49 pm

YUM! That looks delicious! I'll have to get my ice cream maker out and dust it off a little… ;)

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8 Anonymous July 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm

What an inventive recipe! I also love hazelnut gelato, so I am going to try your recipe. By the way, your son sounds a lot like my son.

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9 Cookin' Canuck July 12, 2009 at 12:56 am

Thanks for everyone's comments. This really is a delicious recipe. Give it a try.

Amanda, I'm glad to hear I was able to knock you off of your diet. My work here is done.

Jenn, thanks so much for the award! I really appreciate that. I'm heading to your blog to check it out.

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10 Lisa Curcio July 12, 2009 at 1:30 am

My goodness, that does look heavenly! I am realizing more and more how much I really need an ice cream maker!

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11 Karine July 12, 2009 at 2:14 am

It looks to be an amazing recipe! thanks for sharing!

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12 Chow and Chatter July 12, 2009 at 2:23 am

wow impressive icecream making sounds divine

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13 Frieda July 12, 2009 at 5:21 am

Man….now I've got to make ice cream! Found your blog through the Hive…love it!

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14 Melinda July 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I found your site through 101 Cookbooks. I love it! You have some really yummy recipes and I love the pictures of each step.

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15 Heavenly Housewife July 12, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Wow, this looks awesome!!!

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16 Miranda July 13, 2009 at 2:13 am

CC-You rock! You always have such unique and great recipes…
You are truly becoming one of my fav. sites to visit!!!!

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17 nooschi July 13, 2009 at 3:30 am

Now that is ice cream you don't see every day. That looks really good! Perfect for the summer.

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18 KrisKishere July 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Wow, what a different kind of ice cream! Looks great!

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19 Krissy @The Food Addicts July 14, 2009 at 4:30 am

You know, we actually just toasted up some pine nuts yesterday to make pesto sauce, and luckily had some leftover to munch on. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed the taste of pine nuts!! And who would've thought it would be great as an ice cream flavor? Great idea!!! Thanks.

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20 Alta July 14, 2009 at 11:46 pm

I am a sucker for nutty, brown sugar-y stuff, this sounds great! I think it will definitely be on my "ice cream flavors to make" list!

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21 Sean July 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

This looks amazing! I can't wait to try it. I just made saffron ice cream with currants and almonds last weekend and it turned out really well. There is nothing like homemade ice cream. I think I am trying your recipe next!

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22 Tangled Noodle August 24, 2009 at 3:21 am

I haven't put away my ice cream maker yet! This sounds like a marvelous recipe – I can't wait to try it out!

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