Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Posted on: October 28, 2009

In its natural state.

In its natural state.

Just in time for Halloween! I love themes, so of course as Halloween approaches I have to feature some ice creams appropriate to the season. And  regardless, pumpkin ice cream is just plain delicious. It’s like a cold, crustless pumpkin pie and how could that be bad? So put down your carving knife and back away from that jack-o-lantern and make this spooktacular ice cream!


Pumpkin and spice and everything nice!

I wanted an ice cream that resembled the filling of a pumpkin pie as closely as possible. So taking inspiration from the recipe on the can of pumpkin, I added some evaporated milk, swapped white sugar for brown, and added plenty of egg yolks for that pumpkin custard flavor. When it comes to something as classic as pumpkin pie, I have to say that I’m pretty traditional kinda gal, so I tried to make ice cream as close to the original as possible.


Freshly churned!

When making this ice cream, you can use canned pumpkin or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, roast your own. Just make sure you get a sugar pumpkin, other types of pumpkin can be stringy and flavorless when roasted. Either way, you just want to make sure you have 3/4 cup pumpkin puree.  Also, when comes to adding spices, my measurements are approximations, so feel free to add more or less spices as you see fit.


Fresh Pumpkin Ice Cream!

This ice cream came out beautifully, creamy and comforting with just enough spice. This is one of those happy occasions where what I had imagined really did come to life. It was an ice cream version of pumpkin pie filling, to the T. And if you really wanted to kick it up notch, you could add pie crust pieces or even pour it into a baked, cooled pie crust for a frozen twist on the original. Either way, this ice cream would be perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just as a celebration of fall!

Pumpkin Ice Cream


2 cups half and half

¼ cup heavy cream

¾ cup evaporated milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

6  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

¾ cup pumpkin puree

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

  1.) Combine half and half, heavy cream and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.    Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-6 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt pumpkin and spices and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

 This might sound strange, but I actually really like chocolate and pumpkin together. This ice cream would taste great with hot fudge drizzled over it and whipped cream. Pumpkin ice cream would also make an amazing sundae with applesauce, toasted pecans and freshly whipped cream layered on top. Trust me, this combination really works.

Lighten up!– To lighten this recipe you could easily convert this recipe into a gelato by swapping the half and half for whole milk.


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