chai ice cream with spicy pecans

14 ounces of sweetened condensed mik
1 cup whole milk

6-8 regular size black tea bags or the equivalent in loose leaves (if you use chai tea then you might not need the spices—taste test as you go)
¾ cup white sugar
5 large egg yolks
Dash or two fresh ground black pepper
¼ ts salt
1 cup half & half
1 cup heavy cream, room temp
½ cup – ¾ cup of chopped spicy pecans (optional but wonderful)

Spices to use:
(these may not be needed if you use chai tea bags)
I used, a couple pinches of: cloves, cinnamon and fresh ginger.
You can also use a couple pinches of: cardamom, allspice.

Cook notes: I got the spicy pecans from trader joes. You can easily use walnuts, pistachios or even peanuts. You can also make your own candied walnuts too. When the custard is done steeping, do a quick taste test and see what it needs. Some people have different takes/tastes when it comes to chai tea.

IN a large saucepan, bring the milk and condensed milk to an almost boil. Take off heat then add in the tea bags, your spices, and salt. Mix quickly then cover with lid, and let steep at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix the sugar with the five egg yolks, and salt until well combined.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the leaves from milk; (not needed if you used tea bags).

Return mixture back to pot and add in the half & half; bring to a simmer.
Take your egg mixture and slowly, a few tablespoons to begin with, then gradually ¼ cup at a time, add in the hot mixture. Do not add in all at once as you will cook the eggs. Once the mixture is nicely tempered, pour mixture back into the pot and heat on low heat. Whisk for a while until mixture is slightly thickened. DO NOT BOIL!

Once a thickness has developed, remove from heat, strain into a bowl, and cool.
Stir in the room temp. heavy cream.
Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
When ready to churn in ice cream maker, churn according to the ice cream manufacturer directions. At the last 2-3 minutes of churning add in your ½ cup (or more if desired) of spicy pecans.