Pumpkin Ice Cream

This is the first weekend it feels like fall, something I haven't experienced for a couple of years. As much as I loved San Francisco and Northern California, I really did miss having a fall season. The trees are just starting to turn here in Portland and I'm anxious to catch some of the beauty over the next few weeks, I know it can't compare to the north east where I grew up, but I still get a thrill to see the splatter of yellow and red across the landscape. So it seemed like a good time to make some pumpkin ice cream, well that along with some dental stuff Jeff has been recovering from, no chewing lately, and ice cream like this can really get you through those times. It's been about two years since I've made pumpkin ice cream, and I cannot find that recipe anywhere, I'm googled out and had to settle for what came close. This recipe tastes fantastic, but I remember the color of the ice cream being more orange, so it may have to do with the brand of pumpkin puree I had. Regardless I'm not complaining (and either is Jeff!) this is a thumbs-up recipe. I used a Pumpkin Pie Spice that works great, so I can't really say how the spices in this recipe taste, but I imagine it would be similar.

I'm looking forward to more fall recipes, just picked up some apples today at the farmer's market and want to make something really special with them. Until next time, thanks for coming by!


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Pumpkin Ice Cream
(adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree or canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg*
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon

*I used 1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice instead and it tasted really good!

In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4 to 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. 

Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the bourbon during the last minute of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.