Make and freeze butter pecans – see recipe below. Make an ice bath and set aside. Have a clean bowl or container and a fine mesh strainer standing by.
Combine sugars, non-fat milk powder and tapioca starch in a bowl. Combine milk and cream in a large bowl. Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Add corn syrup, egg yolks, and cinnamon whisking until fully incorporated.
Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil. Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks. In the last few minutes stir without stopping as the mixture begins to thicken – you will feel a subtle difference.
Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl that is standing by. Stir in vanilla paste (if using)
Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into the ice bath.
After the gelato has cooled, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
Give the gelato a quick stir with an immersion blender or whisk then process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Right before the gelato is ready, drop in the frozen pecans a few at a time.
The gelato is finished when it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and top with cubes of butter. Bake for approximately 10 minutes total, stirring halfway through. The nuts are done when they turn a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle sugar and salt over the lets and let cool to room temperature. Put the nuts in a container and freezer before mixing into the gelato.