I’m in the DC region, this past weekend we experienced what has been called The Blizzard of 2010, Snowmageddon , and Snowcalypse. Two feet of snow on the ground, another foot expected to fall between today and tomorrow night. I wonder what they will start calling this next storm. In other words, I’ve been stuck at home since Friday. When the snow hits, I say make ice cream! The flavor of this ice cream is complex and satisfying. It screams comfort food to me. I often find that ice creams made with egg yolks turn out to be too dense and too heavy for my taste. That is not the case with this recipe because it gets some lightness from the pumpkin. This recipe is from David Lebovitz. His instructions are as simple and straightforward as they get. My additions are just one vanilla bean, white chocolate chips, and pecan pralines. Hopefully the snow will stop falling some time soon, and I will be able to eat my ice cream while wearing a t-shirt that says: I Survived the Blizzard of 2010.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
1 vanilla bean
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
¾ cup canned 100% pumpkin purée (or you can use roasted pumpkin)
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup praline pecans, coarsely chopped
1. Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl that will hold at least 2 quarts inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.
2. Cut the vanilla bean in half, scrape out the seeds, and place them in a saucepan. Then add the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and salt.
3. Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam. If you see the mixture separating, just beat rapidly with a whisk.
4. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.
5. Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-proof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160-170 degrees F.
6. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar, then stir until cool, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
7. When you are ready to put the mixture in the ice cream maker, whisk in the vanilla and Grand Marnier and pumpkin purée. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the mixture has been frozen, mix in the white chocolate chips and praline pecans. Freeze overnight, or at least for a few hours, before serving.
In the market for an ice cream maker?
There are several good and inexpensive ice cream makers on the market. I have experience with two models: the Krups358-70 La Glaciere and the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence. With these you need to have space in your freezer to store the insulated freezer bowl, and you need to freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours before using it. That requires a bit of pre-planning. And then you can only make one batch at a time. These machines are perfect if you plan on making ice cream only a few times a month.
Now, if you want to start making all your ice cream instead of buying it, you will need something more convenient. This is where automatic ice cream machines come in. So last Christmas I asked Santa, and by Santa I mean my checkbook, for a Cuisinart ICE-50BC Supreme. It is more expensive than the other ones, it is big, it takes up counter space, but you do not need to pre-freeze the bowl and you can make as many batches in succession as you would like. This machine does not disappoint. My friends, and my scale, are begging me to put it away for the rest of the winter. I don’t promise much.