There are two reasons why I shouldn’t eat ice cream right now. First, it’s the dead of winter. Second, it’s not healthy. To both those rules, I say, “I don’t care.” Why are ice cream cravings supposed to turn off just because it’s not summer?
While I’m breaking the rules, why not enjoy pumpkin pie ice cream right now? Thanksgiving’s long gone, but like Maida Heatter says, pumpkin ice cream “has no season.”
Whenever I make macaroons, I always freeze leftover egg yolks so I’ll have them for custard-based ice cream, like the one below. Just remember to add 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar or 1/8 teaspoon salt for every four yolks (and label them!), so they don’t get gelatinous. If you have the opposite problem and have too many whites, you can freeze those too, but I heard they don’t whip as well for meringues.
This version is healthier than regular ice cream, since there’s a high proportion of milk to cream. I encourage you to eat it during the summer, Thanksgiving and yes, the middle of winter.
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Makes about 5 cups
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine, but make sure it has no added flavorings)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon brandy or vodka
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers or gingersnap cookies
In a 2-quart heavy saucepan bring milk, cream, and about half of sugar just to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat.
Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat yolks, spices and remaining sugar until thick and pale. Add hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into saucepan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170° F, or the mixture coats the back of a spoon. (Do not let boil.) Pour custard through a sieve into a metal bowl set in ice and cold water. Add the brandy/vodka and vanilla and cool. Chill custard, covered, until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.
Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker. While the ice cream is freezing, scatter a handful of cookies in the bottom of an airtight storage container. When the ice cream is finished churning, quickly fold in the rest of the cookies. Transfer to the storage container and put in freezer to harden, 1 to 3 hours.