It is October, pumpkins are on display at the grocery stores and pumpkin patches are springing up all around the area. Bring on the brisk days and cold nights, golden skies and fires in the fireplace. I’m pulling out my sweaters and decorating the house with gorgeous harvest colors. It is autumn, my favorite time of the year, and I am ready to celebrate!
When it comes to autumn we all think about pumpkins – for carving, as decorations and to cook with. I love pumpkin pie, but I wanted something that would bridge the seasons. Here in the Bay Area our days are still quite warm, so I wanted something with the flavors of pumpkin pie but a cold treat to enjoy in the waning days of summer. Pumpkin Ice Cream it is!
If you’ve read my blog you know that I adore David Lebovitz and Emily Lucchetti, two of the best pastry chefs of our time. David used to work at Chez Panisse and now lives in Paris, and Emily started at Stars Restaurant in San Francisco and is now the head pastry chef at Farallon and Waterbar. Both David and Emily are award winning chefs and cookbook authors. I highly recommend all of their books and if either is teaching cooking classes in your area – go! They both love what they do and will inspire you to learn new techniques, try new flavor combinations, and put a twist on old favorites.
When you are making something with a single primary ingredient, like ice cream, you want to use the best possible quality you can find. In our area of California, Strauss Family Creamery makes the best milk, cream, yogurt and butter. Rich, full of flavor and 35% butterfat so it tastes like “real” cream, it is what I reach for when I want and extra special treat. They also use glass bottles which reminds me of the milkman’s delivery when I was a child. I can still hear him walking up to the house, carrying the bottles in their metal basket rattling with each step he took. It is a sound that makes me yearn for a simpler time.
When looking at various recipes, I was inspired by a photograph I saw on a beautiful Food Blog called, “Not Quite Nigella.” The author is Lorraine Elliott, a foodie, art lover, and photographer from Sydney, Australia. Her pumpkin ice cream recipe uses real pumpkin that she cooks and purees to make the custard. There are many of you out there that love to make your pumpkin pies from real pumpkins. This is a similar method. Give Lorraine’s recipe a try. I know you will love it and it would make a wonderful project to do with your kids!
So if you’re in a pumpkin mood and don’t feel like eating pie, try this smooth and satisfying dessert. It may have you re-thinking your Thanksgiving dessert options.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you want to, you can add lots of different things to this ice cream while it is still soft. You can drizzle in chocolate syrup for a swirl, add chocolate chips, chopped candied ginger, or crumbled ginger snaps for some added crunch, or chopped roasted nuts. You could even pour it into a pie plate and freeze it for an ice cream pie!
- 8 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling mix! *)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine about 3 cups of ice cubes with 2 cups water. Nestle a metal bowl in the middle (big enough to hold the ice cream custard) and place a strainer over the top of it. You will use this to cool the custard after cooking it. Set aside.
- Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the sugar and the 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until steaming and bubbles start to form at the edge of the pan. Do not boil.
- Gradually whisk about half of the hot cream into the eggs and sugar mixture stirring constantly so that the eggs don’t scramble. Whisk this back into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula (make sure it has a flat end so you can really scrape the bottom of the pan) until it is thick enough to coat the spatula. You should be able to run your finger down the center of the spatula and have the line hold without the custard running back together. An instant-read thermometer will register about 160°F to 170°F.
- Immediately pour this through the strainer into the metal bowl sitting in the ice bath you prepared earlier. Cool for 5 minutes and then whisk in the pumpkin puree. Continue to cool until it reaches room temperature, adding ice cubes as needed to keep the bath cold. When cool, whisk in vanilla and pour into a resealable container. Refrigerate thoroughly, at least several hours and preferably overnight.
- Press the mixture through a very fine-mesh strainer (this helps smooth out the consistency of the pumpkin puree), and then freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until ready to serve, at least an hour. The longer you freeze it, the firmer it will be. If you like soft-serve ice cream, you can serve it right away.
- Yield: about 1 quart.
- * Pumpkin Pie Filling mix has already been sweetened and spiced. Pure Pumpkin Puree is just plain pumpkin and perfect for most applications. If you want, you can make your own puree from fresh sugar pumpkins.