A Season for Ice Cream

pumpkin pie ice cream

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

Inspired by Frozen Desserts, Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, Gourmet and The Perfect Scoop

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.

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  1. jen of a2eatwrite said,

    Thank you for this recipe – my pumpkin ice cream recipes were always too grainy and this sounds perfect!

    February 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm

  2. white on rice couple said,

    Awwww….too bad you shouldn’t eat ice cream….but we can eat it! First of all, it’s quite warm where we are and we stopped standing on the scale a long time ago. So you can give all this delicious ice cream to us! 🙂
    Since this is healthier, we’ll double up on the portions!

    March 1, 2008 at 3:14 am

  3. angela said,

    this recipie sounds great! i’ve been wanting to try my hand at making my own ice cream. do you recommend any ice cream maker? what do you use?

    March 6, 2008 at 9:16 pm

  4. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Angela, I have a Cuisinart Ice-20. It’s no more than $50 (I bought a refurbished one for a little cheaper) and does a decent job.

    March 9, 2008 at 12:39 am

  5. Ashley said,

    I’d like to try this with my daughter, but I don’t want to add any brandy or vodka. Is this essential to the recipe? If so what are some alternatives? Thanks.

    October 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

  6. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Hi Ashley, the alcohol prevents the ice cream from freezing hard. There isn’t enough for you to taste it, but you can leave it out if you like.

    October 28, 2012 at 1:02 am