Date, Rum & Pecan Ice Cream

I used my fair share of alcohol in sweets for my birthday (Tiramisu Cupcakes), St. Patrick’s Day (Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes), Cinco de Mayo (Margarita Cupcakes), and the Kentucky Derby (Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Pie) but haven’t used any since that 6-week period. I guess my taste buds knew it had been a couple of months since there was any booziness going on the kitchen, because when I started browsing around for a new ice cream recipe to try, this one immediately jumped out at me. Vanilla ice cream with a bit of rum in it, plus rum-soaked dates and maple-glazed pecans sounded irresistible to me. And so like a good baker, I made it immediately. And then proceeded to eat way more of it than I should have. However, life is short. So, eat ice cream. Right? Right. 🙂

The vanilla base for the ice cream is pretty similar to classic vanilla bean ice cream, although only vanilla extract is used (not a vanilla bean), and an extra egg yolk is added. And of course a couple tablespoons of rum! In addition, we have dates that have been macerating in rum for at least 4 hours, and a batch of pecans that have been glazed with maple syrup. You can skip the maple syrup if you’d like and just use regular toasted pecans, but I thought the addition of the maple flavor paired with the rum and dates would be fabulous. And it totally was. All of the flavors just bounce off of each other and do a little dance. Love this ice cream! Plus, of all the ice creams that I’ve made over the last couple of years, my mom has declared this her very favorite of all of them. Mom’s vote has to count for something, right? 🙂

One year ago: Southern Banana Pudding
Two years ago: Seven-Layer Bars
Three years ago: Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Date, Rum & Pecan Ice Cream

Yield: 1¼ quarts

Prep Time: 45 minutes (active), 8 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


For the Dates:
12 dates (4 ounces), pitted
¼ cup dark rum

For the Ice Cream:
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Large pinch of salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup maple-glazed pecans (below)

For the Maple-Glazed Pecans:
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Big pinch of salt


1. To prepare the dates, chop them into ½-inch pieces. Combine the date pieces with the rum in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir. Cover and let macerate at room temperature for at least 4 hours (this can be done up to 1 day ahead).

2. To make the ice cream, warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix int he vanilla and rum, then stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.

5. Heat the maple syrup in a small skillet or saucepan until it just begins to come to a full boil. Stir in the pecans, then cook until the liquid comes to a full boil once again. Stir the nuts for 10 seconds, then remove them from the heat and let cool completely. The nuts will still be wet and sticky when cooled. Chop maple-glazed pecans coarsely.

6. Freeze the custard mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the wet pecans and date pieces.

(Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop)


41 Responses to “Date, Rum & Pecan Ice Cream”

  1. Liv B on June 17, 2011 at 12:06 am

    OH! This sounds divine. I’m a major fun of nuts in my ice cream, and what’s not to like about adding rum? I guess that means I just *have* to buy a bottle, right?

    I can’t wait to try this one out!


  2. Katrina on June 17, 2011 at 12:31 am

    What a lovely ice cream! Yum!


  3. Estela @ Weekly Bite on June 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

    This ice cream sounds perfect!! Love all those flavors 🙂


  4. Katie on June 17, 2011 at 2:06 am

    I bet my dad would love this. Rum & raisin is his favourite ice cream so the addition of pecans and dates make it sound even better. I’ll have to make him some for Fathers Day


  5. Andrea on June 17, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Your description at the end is so cute, especially the Mom part! (yes, her opinion totally counts!) I want to make this recipe but I’m going to have to tweak it because I don’t do dairy- no problem though because I have a great base that works perfect. It’s going to be very fun (thanks!).


  6. Valerie on June 17, 2011 at 3:39 am

    I think Hagen Daas make the same one, it’s a delight! Thanks for sharing!!


  7. Heather (Heather's Dish) on June 17, 2011 at 7:41 am

    i need this right now. this is considered a breakfast item, right? RIGHT! 🙂


  8. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie on June 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Mmmm..rum AND ice cream. Perfect match :).


  9. Ann on June 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Holy Cow! That looks absolutely sinful! Some of the prettiest ice-cream I’ve seen! Another amazing recipe & post!


  10. Happy When Not Hungry on June 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Wow this ice cream looks awesome and I love the flavors too!


  11. Susan @ SGCC on June 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

    This looks fabulous! It reminds me of rum raisin ice cream – one of my faves – but better.


  12. Jess on June 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I’m with you on this one – dessert is where I like my alcohol the best! I can pass up drinks left and right, but mention hard liquor mixed into chocolate, sugar, or pastry (or, better yet, all three!), and I’m game. This looks fantastic – thanks for the post!


  13. Jen of My Tiny Oven on June 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I just got an ice cream maker for my birthday! This recipe is so going to the top of my list! YUM!! Thanks!!


  14. Jenny Flake on June 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

    You always make the best ice creams!! This one looks amazing!


  15. Baking Serendipity on June 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I love sprinkling pecans on top of ice creams and the thought of maple pecans swirled in is making me drool. Yum!


  16. Maria on June 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Love this ice cream flavor!


  17. Christine on June 17, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Ice cream sounds great! Love it!


  18. The Mistress of Spices on June 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This sounds AMAZING! I would probably substitute the dates with raisins since I’m not a huge date fan. And yes, your mom’s vote definitely counts for something…she sounds like she has good taste!


  19. Tracy on June 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I love the rum-soaked dates in this! I can’t wait to try this. I’ll have to leave out the pecans, but I’ll definitely add in a little maple syrup!


  20. anita on June 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    oh my word! we’ve been using date syrup lately to make a rich ice cream without processed sugar and now I’m thinking of trying to glaze those pecans with it as well. Thanks for the delicious looking recipe!


  21. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on June 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Another beautiful ice cream! I made your pistachio nut ice cream this weekend – it was amazing! Just blogged about it today!


  22. Tiffany on June 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I’m used to rum raisin… I like this twist of using dates instead… and I can only imagine how good the rum must have been with those crunchy pecans!


  23. Sandra on June 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Very different and it sounds delish.


  24. Georgie on June 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Goodness gracious, this looks good!


  25. Peggy on June 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Wow… this is a keeper! If mom loves it, it’s gotta be! =)


  26. Evan Thomas on June 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Anything with rum and pecans can’t be bad; this looks delicious!


  27. Laura on June 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

    This looks so good! I have been thinking about buying an ice cream maker, but I am not sure how often I would use it. Do you find that it is worth it?


    • Michelle on June 19th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Yes, yes, yes! I absolutely feel that ice cream makers are worth it. Homemade ice cream is so delicious and it’s awesome to play around with different flavors.


  28. miri leigh on June 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    This is a beautiful ice cream. I will be making this for guests soon. Thanks very much for posting.


  29. Felice on June 20, 2011 at 2:20 am

    I’ve had rum and raisin ice cream but this just takes it to a whole new playing field. I love the extra yellow color the extra egg yolk gives it.


  30. Cookin' Canuck on June 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Michelle, you are the queen of ice cream flavors. This is another keeper!


  31. Marelize on June 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I love this recipe with the dates. I’m originally from South Africa and we are crazy about Rum & Raisin ice cream. But I love the combination of the dates and the rum instead of the raisins. Nice.


  32. Emilia on April 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I just got an ice cream maker so I was excited to try out some recipes and this was the first one I made. It was delicious! Mind you, I didn’t have dates so I omitted that part and used walnuts instead of pecans because that’s what I had, but I was very happy with how it turned out. delicious!


  33. Bridget on July 3, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Can I make it without the dates?


    • Michelle on July 5th, 2013 at 10:32 am

      You can if you’d like.


  34. Mak on July 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    What could I substitute for the rum? Would it still taste good without the rum flavor?


    • Michelle on July 9th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Mak, If you prefer not to use rum, then I would just omit it. I obviously think it tastes the best with rum, but you can make the ice cream without it. There really isn’t anything else that has the same flavor. For soaking the dates, just use water.


  35. Dani on July 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I just got the kitchen aid attachment and luckily found your site soon after! I made the mint chocolate chip but I substituted the chips for Oreos and made my version of mint cookies and cream which came out amazing!! This is next on my list but I have one question I’m trying to get away from dairy is it possible to use a substitute?


    • Michelle on July 22nd, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Dani, Yikes, I’m not sure how you could replace the dairy in homemade ice cream. If you find a successful substitute, please stop back and share!


  36. Joan Chamberlain on June 8, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I made this with raisins instead of dates, and it was delicious! The proportions are perfect – just the right amount of rum. The ice cream base is my new favorite. It’s not too rich or too sweet. Be sure to toast the pecans as instructed. They are a perfect addition to the rum and raisins. This recipe will definitely go in my keeper pile. Thank you!


  37. Izzy on June 19, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I tried to make this but failed! Don’t know what happened as I have made 2 of your fabulous ice cream creations to the letter before (Mint & Vanilla Bean) and they have both worked out so well. I noticed that the Vanilla Bean ice cream recipe has 6 egg yolks but you say in this recipe that there is an extra egg yolk. Does that mean there are 7 egg yolks instead of the 6 that are in this one? I want this ice cream so bad!!! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong… it never churned properly. It stayed liquid. Help!! 🙂 (PS: love your recipes!!! They are a hit at Matilda on Broadway!!)


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