Photo: Sarah Kaiser
When I first decided to make pumpkin ice cream for the Earth Eats pumpkin series, I was planning on doing something simple and vegan—with coconut milk, sugar, and tons of fresh pumpkin.
While that would undoubtedly result in a delicious ice cream, this week my ambition got the better of me (as it often does), and I decided to go for a custard-style ice cream, made with egg yolks and whole milk. Decidedly not vegan.
I love how, as you cook the milk and eggs together, they thicken into a heavy, creamy consistency. And though you can get a similar texture using coconut milk, it really just isn’t the same as custard.
Investing In Tastiness
I have to give you some warning—this recipe is a bit of a pain to make. You stand there at the stove, stirring and watching, and the minutes can drag on. You’ll also need some sort of ice cream maker or machine.
But, disclaimers aside, if you like the creamy consistency of real, homemade custard, flavored with deliciously sweet local pumpkins and spicy ginger, you won’t be disappointed with the results.
Gingery Pumpkin Frozen Custard
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger (we used dry, fresh is better)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly-ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 medium egg yolks
- 1/8 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup roasted, then pureed pumpkin
Photo: Sarah Kaiser
Method for Custard:
First, you’re going to make the custard. This won’t be the hardest thing you’ve ever made, but you have to be ready for all the following steps so things go smoothly. So be sure to read through all the steps, prepare, then start cooking.
- Mix together the whole milk (not skim or 2%), sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan. Continue mixing over low heat until ingredients are thoroughly combined and the milk is warm and starting to bubble around the edges.
- While the milk is heating, separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set aside the whites (you can use them for an omelet later!) and whisk the eggs yolks. (A fork is fine for whisking.)
- Add half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. You don’t want the yolks to cook until they are completely combined with the milk, so it’s important that the milk not get too hot before this step.
- Add the egg yolk t and milk mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Keep the heat low, and continue cooking until this mixture gets a thick, custard-like consistency. You’ll notice when it starts to thicken.
- Pour this mixture into a metal bowl in a bath of ice. (Make this by taking a large bowl, filling it with ice and cold water, and putting the smaller metal bowl on top.)
- Immediately after the mixture is placed in the ice bath, stir in the remaining sugar. Continue stirring until mixture cools.
Method After Custard:
- Once the custard has chilled completely in the ice bath (should take about 10-20 minutes), stir in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.
- Chill the entire mixture in the fridge for a few hours, until it is very cold. Then, process it through your ice cream maker and freeze according to its instructions.
- We garnished ours with freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, one of my favorite seasonal sugary snacks.