Wasn’t it me who said just two days ago that I wasn’t ready for pumpkin yet? Yep, I guess it was, but stick with me for a minute here. Consider this pumpkin pie ice cream sort of a bridge between summer and fall, and therefore not really a violation of my “no pumpkin until it’s officially fall” rule. Although I make ice cream year-round, I think a lot of people feel it is a treat most closely associated with summer (apparently not everyone shares my desire to churn ice cream when it’s 10 degrees out and there’s snow on the ground). So, ice cream = summer and yes, pumpkin = fall. I’m probably not fooling anyone else, but that’s how I’m justifying to myself that it’s ok to make, eat and post pumpkin pie ice cream a full week before the calendar says it’s fall. Today’s the first day I’ve woken up and felt the chill of fall in the air, so I know it’s not far off.
I think this ice cream was technically called pumpkin ice cream but to me it tastes more like pumpkin pie so I took the liberty of adapting the name. It’s creamy, easily scoopable, and, for me, had just the right amount of spices. The flavor is everything that’s good about fall wrapped up in one treat. I think the ice cream would be perfect as an accompaniment to a number of fall desserts, but it’s also really good on its own with a few crumbled gingersnap cookies on top. I understand if you’re not ready to open those cans of pumpkin puree quite yet; I’m trying really hard to hold onto those last few days of summer too. But add this ice cream to your fall to-do list so you don’t forget to try it when the time comes!
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (95 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup packed (60 g) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 g) canned pumpkin puree
Whisk the half-and-half, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and salt together in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm and bubbling around the edges.
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the half-and-half mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, until completely incorporated. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (it will register between 170 and 175 F on an instant read thermometer).
Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar, then chill the mixture until very cold – at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Once cold, whisk in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer again (you might be tempted to skip this step, but I don’t recommend it – the straining will ensure smooth ice cream), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store the ice cream in an airtight container in your freezer.
Makes 1 quart