Happy fall! Here is a recipe for pumpkin-ginger ice cream with spiced pumpkin seeds. I developed this recipe with some help from my new friend Michelle at whatscookingblog.com. She runs a company dedicated to teaching kids how to cook. The above picture was taken by Michelle. She used trader Joe's brand canned pumpkin. My version was the traditional orange color. Michelle made some modifications to my recipe. Check it out at her blog.
As an ice cream ingredient, pumpkin can be tricky. It contains a high amount of water. The secret is to extract some of it before adding it to the ice cream. I used a method from Cooks Illustrated recipe for pumpkin pie. Line a rimmed baking sheet with three layers of paper towels. Then spread the pumpkin across the towels in a thin layer. Place another three layers of paper towels on top of the pumpkin then press down with your hand. You will see the paper towels turn orange as the water is absorbed. When you are finished, remove the top layers of towels. Scrape the pumpkin off of the bottom layers.
Due to my hectic schedule I cheated this recipe a bit by using Libby's brand canned pumpkin and raw pepitos from Trader Joe's, but you really should do this from scratch. Be sure to buy pie pumpkins as opposed to the really large jack-o-lantern pumpkins found in most supermarkets. Cut the pumpkin, clean out the seeds and bake it or microwave it (with some water so it steams) until it is cooked. Scrape it out, then press out the excess water and you are good to go. Treat the raw pumpkin seeds the same as the peptios.
Pumpkin-Ginger Ice Cream with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds:
For the seeds:
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pepitos
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 2 minutes, turn the sheet 180 degrees and bake for 2 more minutes. The seeds should begin to pop. Remove the seeds and cool them to room temperature.
- Mix the white sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and butter. Heat over medium heat until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the cooled seeds. Stir so that the seeds are completely covered, there should be almost no liquid left in the saucepan after the seeds are mixed in.
- Mix the wet seeds in the bowl with the sugar mixture. Toss so everything is well coated.
- Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool until room temperature. Wrap the seeds in an airtight container once cool.
For the ice cream:
1.5 cups milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
15 oz canned or fresh pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with three layers of paper towels. Spread the pumpkin across the towels in a thin layer. Place another three layers of paper towels on top of the pumpkin and press down with your hands. You will see the paper towels turn orange as the water is absorbed. When you are finished, remove the top layers of towels. Scrape the pumpkin off of the bottom layers. You won't get all of the water, but the towels should be completely orange and wet.
- Put the milk and cream and 1/2 cup of the sugar into a pot and bring to a slight simmer stirring occasionally.
- As the milk and cream are heating, place the egg yolks and whole egg into a bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, powdered ginger, and salt and beat until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Once the milk/cream mixture is slightly simmering, remove it from the heat and temper the egg mixture by adding a small amount of the hot milk/cream and stirring thoroughly. Repeat this process a couple of more times to ensure that the eggs have warmed up. You should use about 1/3 of a cup of hot cream mixture in total. Then pour the complete egg mixture into the cream pot.
- Return the pot to the heat and stir constantly until the custard reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the cooked custard pot from the heat. Strain through a sieve into a large bowl.
- Stir in the pumpkin and the vanilla. A whisk works well for this.
- Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill overnight or at least 4 hours.
- Freeze in your ice cream machine. Add the seeds during the last minute of freezing.