Chocolate Bourbon Gelato with Praline Pecans

chocolate bourbon gelato

My chocolate bourbon gelato with praline pecans is inspired by Joshua Moore, the executive chef at Volare in Louisville, Kentucky. He’s a Food Network “Chopped” champion with menus worthy of the title. (Please Josh, bring back your crispy skin duck with cherries!) This dessert is the perfect homage to Kentucky, the home of bourbon and Italy, the home of gelato

He shares dessert recipes on Volare’s website, but bourbon gelato is not one of them. That means I had to create my own using memory and taste buds for guidance.

Gelato and Ice Cream

There’s a fine line that separates one from the other. The proportion of cream and milk is one and the inclusion of egg yolk is another. Traditionally gelato uses 2/3 milk, but that ratio is reversed for ice cream. I decided to go with a 50-50 mix, so I’m not too far off either way. I’m betting Joshua used egg yolk in his recipe, so I did too.

The result is a creamy smooth, chocolate confection with the sweet crunchiness of praline pecans. This is so delicious I’m not going to fret over any difference between this and chef Joshua’s. Print

Chocolate Bourbon Gelato with Praline Pecans

Chocolate Bourbon Gelato with Praline Pecans!

  • Author: TJ



Praline Pecans

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar – packed
  • 4 TBL butter – cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 21/2 cups chopped/broken pecans

Chocolate Bourbon Gelato with Praline Pecans

  • 11/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 11/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate – finely chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBL wheated bourbon like Maker’s Mark, just saying
  • 21/2 cups praline pecans – chopped and divided
  • Praline pecans – garnish


Praline Pecans

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large heavy bottom saucepot, warm the heavy cream, milk, white sugar, brown sugar and butter until the butter is melted
  3. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved
  4. Heat to a low boil and stir slowly but constantly
  5. Boil for 7-8 minutes, stirring constantly until it reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you have an official candy thermometer there should be a line that reads “soft ball”
  6. When it reaches 235 for about 30 seconds, remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla and stir in the pecan pieces
  7. Slowly stir while it cools for about 3-4 minutes
  8. Use a ladle to pour it onto the parchment paper and spread it out to a thin even thickness
  9. Let it stand until it cools for about 20 minutes
  10. Refrigerate until chilled and firm
  11. Break or chop it into small pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use

Praline pecans praline pecans 2

Chocolate Bourbon Gelato with Praline Pecans

  1. Make the praline pecans in advance
  2. Chop the chocolate and place it into a bowl large enough to hold the finished gelato and set aside
  3. Warm the milk, cream, cocoa, vanilla and sugar on the stove in a large saucepot
  4. Whisk until it is well combined while warming
  5. Lightly whisk together the egg yolks in a separate bowl
  6. Add a half cup of the warm milk/cream/cocoa mixture to the egg yolks while whisking
  7. Warning: Don’t let the milk/cream/cocoa mix get too hot or you will curdle the eggs!
  8. Whisk continuously while adding the egg mixture to the warm milk/cream/cocoa in the saucepot
  9. Heat the combined mixture slowly on medium low heat while stirring until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon
  10. Strain the gelato into the chopped chocolate to remove any curdled bits and solids
  11. Let set for a minute while the chocolate melts and then whisk until it is smooth
  12. Refrigerate overnight or until it is thoroughly chilled to facilitate churning into finished gelato
  13. Stir in the bourbon and fold in 2 cups of chopped praline pecans
  14. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  15. Transfer to a bowl and finish in your freezer
  16. Serve individual scoops in a parfait glass and garnish with reserved praline pecans

gelato with bourbon

churning gelato churned chocolate bourbon gelato with praline pecans