Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

30 Oct

Fall is here

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” ~ Jim Davis

Jim Davis, I don’t know who you are but I like you already.

Yesterday was National Pumpkin Day and in honor of this historical moment, I made Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. (Full disclosure: I had no idea it was actually National Pumpkin Day until someone told me. I had already planned to make this flavor when, boom, my coworker told be about the special day. I wish I were really that on top of things!)

Tomorrow also happens to be Halloween so this recipe seemed rather obvious. In honor of our main ingredient, the pumpkin, I thought I’d share a few fun facts:

Pumpkins are the harbinger of the harvest season, appearing every year as the first sign of autumn. Did you know that the word “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon,” meaning “large melon”?

Pumpkins can be grown on every continent except Antarctica, and the United States produces about 1.5 billion pounds of them each year. A Wisconsin farmer grew the largest pumpkin ever recorded. He used seaweed, cow manure, and fish emulsion to grow his pumpkin, which weighed a total of 1,810 pounds and was the size of a dumpster!

Pumpkin Spice

Let me be clear about one thing: please don’t use cow manure and fish emulsion in my pumpkin thankyouverymuch.

In case you’re worried, I used organic pumpkin puree. I had a brief, fleeting thought about making my own pumpkin puree. Then I pictured myself standing in the kitchen for hours, laboring over cutting, roasting, and seasoning the pumpkin and I thought better of it. Good thing because Whole Foods  had a sale on their organic pumpkin puree, which worked just swimmingly for this recipe.

As part of my ongoing mission to taste other ice creams for “research” I made it a point to sample Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream . Everyone has been raving about it, and I needed to stand face to face with my competition. It was, simply put, outrageously delicious. As I was savoring each bite, I noticed that a woman next to me was also enjoying the ice cream. I don’t know what came over me, but I had to take advantage of the opportunity to promote 365scoops so you know what I did? I handed her a business card and told her that I make artesanal, home-made ice cream. She looked at me like I was joking. I wasn’t. And then, the best part happened. One of the Trader Joe’s employees looked her in the eyes and said, “No, seriously, that’s Mrs. Sugar, she really does have an ice cream business!”

Ladies and gentlemen, if that’s not an endorsement I don’t know what is. I’ve made it big!

Happy Fall!  Enjoy!

A dollop of pumpkin puree before it's stirred into the milk mixture

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Created by 365scoops

Ingredients for Ice Cream

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup whole milk

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp tea masala (combination of ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg) a spice mixture from Kenya

4 whole cloves

Adding in the pumpkin spices

Ingredients for Caramelized Graham Crackers

8 graham crackers

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla


First make the ice cream base. Pour two cups half-and-half and one cup whole milk into a large pot. While that is heating, begin tempering the eggs. To do this whisk the yolks first, and slowly add in the 3/4 cups of sugar until the yolks get very thick and pale yellow. At this point, small bubbles should be forming around the edges of the milk mixture. Pour in the can of pumpkin and stir thoroughly. Remove from heat.

The ice cream mixture resting in an ice bath to expedite the cooling process

Slowly pour the pumpkin/milk mixture into the egg yolks. Stir thoroughly until well incorporated. Add in the cinnamon, cloves, ginger powder and tea masala. (Personally, I didn’t think that my ice cream was spiced enough, so at this point I should have at least doubled the proportions of seasonings, and then adjusted according to taste – oh well, next time).

Pour this mixture back into the pot and slowly heat until the mixture reaches 185 degrees F, or when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula. At this point the eggs are cooked. Remove from heat and let cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours. To speed up the cooling process (which I did), you can fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, and rest the ice cream mixture bowl in that bowl (otherwise known as an ice bath). You’ll still need to transfer to the refrigerator, but it definitely shaves time off the cooling process.

Graham crackers, before caramelization

While cooling, make the caramelized graham crackers. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (an absolute must, or your graham crackers will stick!). Break the eight graham crackers in half, or in small pieces, whatever you prefer (pieces need to be event) and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 25o degrees. Mix butter, brown sugar and corn syrup on the stove top and heat until bubbly. Stir constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Once bubbly, remove from heat and pour in the vanilla extract. Pour this caramel mixture onto the graham crackers, mix a bit so the pieces are well covered, and cook at 25o degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven after 30 minutes and immediately take the pieces off the baking sheet (careful the caramel is VERY hot). Set the pieces aside.

Graham crackers, post caramelization

Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning, slowly mix in the caramelized graham crackers. Remove from the ice cream maker, place in a freezer safe container and freeze for 2 hours before enjoying.

The Verdict:  Well, it was eh. I really hate saying that, but it’s true. I’ve mentioned before that I really love ice creams that pack a punch – and really exude flavor. This one just didn’t. I am not sure whether more cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger would have added to the flavor, or whether the pumpkin to milk ratio was slightly off, but either way, I’m going to try making it again with some slight modifications. Of course I’ll post those for your reading pleasure.

Pumpkin pie ice cream, up close and personal

But, on a positive note, the caramelized graham crackers were so delicious, and whenever I got a bite of ice cream with one of those gems, it was heavenly. The caramelized graham crackers were a perfect addition to the ice cream, and provided a deliciously sweet crunch. All in, I’d give this a 6 out of 10. Hopefully next time we’ll get a 9 or 10. Either way, it’s still a great ice cream for fall.

6 Responses to “Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream”

  1. Dorothy Rose November 17, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Maybe your ice cream needed some vanilla.

  2. SamanthaJess December 9, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Caramelized graham crackers: what a supremely genius idea! I just got an ice cream maker and my friend pointed me towards your blog and I can’t wait to try these recipes!!!!

    • naomisugar December 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      Samantha, thanks so much for reading! Let me know about your creations and if you have any flavor requests send them my way! Enjoy

      • SamanthaJess January 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

        I’ve been searching around for a Honey Lavender ice cream – if I succeed, I’ll share!


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