How to Make Pecan Extract

by Columbine Quillen on April 21, 2010

Pecan Extract

How to make pecan extract

You will need:

1 cups of shelled pecans

2 cups of 151 rum

Take a cup of pecans and place them in boiling water for about 90 seconds.  The reason you are doing this to boil out the tannins (which are bitter) without boiling out the flavor.  Take the boiled pecans and place them in two cups 151 rum.  Let them sit for three weeks tightly covered.  Best to put it in a bottle with a lid that screws on tight – as the alcohol is going to want to evaporate.  After three weeks,  strain the pecans and you will have a gorgeous pecan extract.  This extract has a very long shelf life and needn’t be refrigerated – however I tend to keep such things in the ice chest as it always helps to keep the flavor from fading.

You can use pecan extract in a myriad of cocktails – but I use it to make the syrup for The Help Cocktail.

- Columbine Quillen
I am a mixologist bartender and this is my blog.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

MJ August 2, 2010 at 12:22 am

Thanks for the recipe! I’m excited to try this, but am considering using a high-proof bourbon instead of the rum. What do you think?

Columbine Quillen August 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm

MJ – any high-proof alcohol will work. I highly doubt you will be able to taste the difference in using bourbon or rum as the alcohol is going to usurp all of the flavor out of the pecans. I typically use rum as it is one of the least expensive high-proof spirits. But if you have a bunch of excess bourbon lying around – by all means use it as it will certainly work just fine.

Sandra Tyra January 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

Can this be used in cooking like vanilla extract or almond extract?

Columbine Quillen February 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Totally, it is just like vanilla or almond extract.

Sandra Trya February 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I made this recipe three weeks ago. We decanted it today into bottles (It makes about 2 cups worth.) I tasted a teaspoonful. All I can taste is rum. No pecan. I baked up a batch of cupcakes. They are not pecan cupcakes, they are rum cupcakes. This was a waste of time and effort.

Columbine Quillen February 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Ah Sandra, your experience sounds terrible. I make a lot of nut extracts and I haven’t had this problem. My guess is the nuts were getting old and didn’t have much flavor in them. But I am going to do some experimenting, using raw and toasted pecans and see if I can get to the root of what happened.

alee August 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I made this with one cup rum to 1/2 cup pecans, and did both toasted pecans (pan roasted… they were tasty!) and raw pecans. After a month it just tastes like rum. I’m pretty disappointed. Next time I will use a grain alcohol and make an extract that way as most of my friends suggested.

Justin September 20, 2011 at 6:45 am

I want to brew a Pecan Nut Brown Ale and I’m thinking I could use this method to obtain the extract. I have been told not to use actual nuts in brewing because they will leave behind their oils which will kill head retention.

Do you have any comments on this?

Jeanne M. November 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Sounds great but since I don’t drink or use alcohol, is there an alternative to using ‘liquid’ that can be used instead of the rum??? Thanks.

Cathi December 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm

The reciepe calls for shelled pecans-does that mean take them out of the shell?

Columbine Quillen December 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Yes, it does ;-)

Columbine Quillen December 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I did some research, thinking that there might be something else that could be used as a solvent – but I couldn’t find anything. I don’t know of any extract that isn’t alcohol based. This might be a lame question, but do you use vanilla extract? If so, that is alcohol based (most people don’t know it). You are using so little of it that even most teetotalers will use flavored extracts in baking (furthermore, the alcohol most likely is going to evaporate off). However, I do know teetotalers who don’t use any extracts in their cooking nor will they indulge bitters and in that case you would most likely have to buy an artificially flavored “pecan extract” that is really just water and artificial flavoring.

MaryG February 3, 2012 at 11:52 am

If tasting the rum is problem, I wonder if using vodka would be the simple solution? I’m a professional baker that is looking to infuse added pecan flavor into some delicate desserts. . . Will give it a shot with the vodka (no pun intended!).

JanaC January 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm

I am trying to make pecan extract now using 100 proof vodka. I used different ratios of vodka to pecans. I’m approaching the 3rd week of the process and tasted the 1 cup pecans: 2 cups vodka batch. There is a distinct flavor (different from just the straight vodka) but it doesn’t really taste like pecans but nutty nonetheless. I also read that the mixture may need to process for up to two months. However, at this point, I don’t think it’s strong enough to taste when baking with it. I also am using a Burkett variety from our old orchard and they are very good this year. I just wonder though if using different pecan varieties has an effect on the extract.

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