In case it isn't obvious by the frequency with which I post about desserts, I have a sweet tooth. Dinner in our house is more often than not followed by something sweet. As the weather turns and fall and then winter arrive, I always look forward to the arrival of my two favorite seasonal ice cream flavors - pumpkin and peppermint stick. This year I am determined to make homemade batches of both.
This recipe for pumpkin ice cream requires a bit of advance planning as the puree must be chilled initially and then the custard must be chilled again. You can make this in one day, but be sure to leave enough time for both the puree and the custard to chill. There is also a LOT of heavy cream in this recipe. It is delicious but obviously unhealthy. That said, I have found that a few bites of this is more than enough and it is something to really be savored. Finally, the chocolate chips are optional - I threw them in at Rob's request and because I do think pumpkin and chocolate are a dynamite combination.
If you'd like to make your own pumpkin puree, I've included instructions below the recipe. It will absolutley make a difference in how flavorful the ice cream is but obviously adds a step to the preparation.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Yield = approximately 1 quart
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree* or canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 - 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (miniature chips are preferable)
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. While the mixture is whirling around in your ice cream maker, add the chocolate chips. I started with 1/2 cup and then sprinkled additional chips until the ratio seemed right. 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.
*To make your own pumpkin puree, use 1 large or 2 medium Sugar Pie or other eating (not field) pumpkins. Cut out the stem and quarter the pumpkin lengthwise. In a preheated 400°F oven, bake the quarters, cut side down, in a shallow roasting pan with a little water in the bottom until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool, scrape out the seeds and cut the flesh from the peels. It is recommended that you then force the pumpkin through a medium-mesh sieve or the medium disk of a food mill. I am lazy and instead just processed it in the food processer. Freeze any leftover puree for up to 2 months.