Rosemary Pine Nut Brittle Ice Cream

Take a sophisticated step up from butter pecan
0 Ratings

I've never had a sweet tooth. But ever since I was a kid, my father has eaten half a pint of ice cream every night. He started with strawberry, then moved on to mango, but has always kept it Häagen-Dazs.

Eventually my dad started to add topping and mix-ins. First it was crushed pistachios, then soft caramels, and now he swirls in some sour cherry jam, which he makes himself.

With this recipe, I'm taking a little inspiration from him and adding one sweet that I do actually enjoy, nut brittle, and adding it to homemade vanilla ice cream. This pine nut version is crunchy, floral and salty and has just a hint of rosemary.

It's a subtle step up from other nutty ice creams.

Rosemary Pine Nut Brittle Ice Cream

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: About 1 quart

Prep Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus churning and freezing time

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus churning and freezing time


For the Rosemary Pine Nut Brittle:

¾ cup sugar

1 cup pine nuts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter 

2½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped and divided

2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

For the Ice Cream:

1 cup whole milk

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

6 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla beans paste or vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces rosemary pine nut brittle


1. Make the rosemary pine nut brittle: Using a wooden spoon, stir sugar in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over high heat until the sugar melts, about 12 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-low and continue to stir until the sugar has become a golden brown color, about 12 minutes. Add the pine nuts and butter and cook, stirring constantly, until the pine nuts have released their fragrance, about 3 minutes. Add half the rosemary and half the salt and remove from heat.

2. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a rubber spatula, spread the brittle to a ¼-inch thickness. Sprinkle the remaining rosemary and sea salt on top of the brittle and allow to cool at room temperature until completely hardened, about 1 hour. Once cooled, form into small clumps. Makes about 8 ounces.

3. Make the ice cream: Build an ice bath and set aside. Put the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually ladle the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking to prevent the yolks from curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve. Stir in the vanilla bean paste.

5. Combine the hot custard and cream together and transfer to a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag; seal and submerge in the ice bath until completely chilled, about 20 minutes.

6. Chill the bowl of your ice cream machine. Pour the chilled base into the bowl of the ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn until the mixture is a soft-serve ice cream consistency, about 30 minutes.

7. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, gently folding in the brittle as you go. Press a sheet of parchment directly onto the surface of the ice cream. Cover the container with a lid and freeze until the ice cream is firm, about 4 hours.

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