Are you tired of pumpkin yet? Of course not–sweet, savory, or whatever–this is a versatile fruit. So I indulged in one of my usual instincts when it comes to making dessert: ice cream! So today’s addition to the freezer is a batch of Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream.
Just like with pumpkin pie, I chose to pair the flavor of pumpkin with the usual spice suspects (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger). I’ve mentioned before how I love the flavor you can extract from cinnamon (and friends) as compared to the ground stuff we’re all used to, and this is another place where the sultry side of the spices gets to shine without stealing the show from the true star: pumpkin. All together, the ice cream is delicious and very autumny (since ice cream, by definition, is very autumny…heck, wintery, while we’re at it). The pumpkin gives a beautiful color and distinct flavor while the spices really pick it up and give it complexity. Texture-wise, the ice cream is very thick. Definitely a fun flavor to add to your ice cream arsenal.
- 1.5 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cloves
- dash nutmeg
- small (~1/2 inch) knob of fresh ginger
- 5 yolks
- 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional: 1 Tbsp bourbon, dark rum, vodka, or some appropriately flavored (or flavorless) liquor
First, if you don’t already have a stash of pumpkin puree handy, make some (or you can always buy a can, I’ll forgive you). Just a refresher: that means chop it in half, scrape out the seeds and stringy parts, bake at 350°F open side down in a small bit of water, and after anywhere between 45-90 minutes, the pumpkin should be done cooking. Scoop out the flesh, puree it in the food processor, and let it sit in the strainer for an hour or so. Tada! Pumpkin puree! (I make it in large batches and then use it as I need it later. You can freeze it!)
The next time consuming step: extracting the flavors from the whole spices and infusing the cream. In a saucepan, add the cream and brown sugar. Then, grate some fresh ginger and put it with the whole spices in a plastic bag. Take out some anger and smash the bag with a hammer/mallet a few times. You don’t want fine powder but you do want it busted up into pieces.
Dump the smashed spices into the cream and warm it up to just shy of boiling. Stir well, remove from heat, put a cover on, and let this sit for an hour (or a bit more–but no less!)
Once time has passed, pour the cream mixture through a strainer to catch all of the spice pieces so you can discard them. Pour the spiced cream back into your saucepan and warm it back up to medium heat.
Set up an ice bath and put a bowl in it. In this bowl, add the pumpkin puree, salt, vanilla extract, and liquor if you’re using it (it will help keep the ice cream from freezing too hard in your freezer). Set your strainer over this.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until lightened in color. Temper the yolks with a small pour of the hot cream so as not to scare them into scrambling, and then transfer the yolks into the saucepan of hot cream. Stir and scrape constantly, cooking for about 5ish minutes over medium heat, or until the custard is cooked and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Once the custard is cooked, pour it through the strainer into the chilled pumpkin puree. Whisk it together so it mixes nicely and chills down. You don’t want the egg yolks to keep cooking or else they’ll overcook and form grainy little scrambled bits.
Once nicely mixed and cooled down, press on a sheet of plastic wrap and let this sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Once time is up, follow the directions that came with your ice cream maker and churn the custard for ~20 minutes. Usually, I’d say set the churned ice cream aside in the freezer overnight before you dig in so it can firm up, but this is one of the few that will actually be thick enough to enjoy right now. So if you’re tempted, go for it! Whenever you eat it, enjoy!