Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

This ice cream is something special.  Seasonal and unique, each scoop delivers a bold pumpkin flavor in a smooth creamy package.

I continue to be fascinated by the endless variety of possible ice cream flavors as well as the different ice cream making techniques.  For instance, this ice cream formula doesn’t use eggs yolks, substituting cornstarch.  I used a similar technique with the Chocolate Toffee Gelato I made over the Summer.  Still, I wondered if ice cream made with cornstarch would be as smooth and rich if it didn’t also include massive amounts of chocolate.  [Spoiler Alert:  It is.]  I had pumpkin puree left over from my Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes, so I decided to experiment with this seasonal flavor.

I like my ice cream to have bold flavor and this one definitely delivers.  I may skip the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and just serve this along with the Pecan Pie.

I created this recipe by combining the pumpkin ice cream recipe from “The Craft of Baking” with a cornstarch technique I read about at thekitchn.com.  It’s makes about one luscious quart.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (100% pure) – see note


NOTE:  Be sure to use the 100% pumpkin puree and NOT the pumpkin pie filling.  Alternatively, you could roast your own pumpkin and then puree the hot flesh to make your puree.

Whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup of the half-and-half until the cornstarch is dissolved.

In a medium saucepan mix rest of the half-and-half, granulated sugar, honey, fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil.

Boil for 4 minutes.  Then add the cornstarch mixture and boil for one minute more, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the dark brown sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla and rum.

Press the mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl, or 4-cup pyrex measure.  There was about 1 tablespoon of solids that wouldn’t go through the strainer, so I just discarded them.

Place the pumpkin base in an ice bath until cool.  Then cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the liquid and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Flash forward to the next day.  It took about 20 minutes for the base to freeze in my ice cream maker.  I scraped it into a chilled container and froze it for another 3 hours until solid.

The finished flavor was very similar to a frozen pumpkin pie.  Quite delicious if I do say so myself.  I felt compelled to perform very frequent taste tests which is always a good sign.

Of course, you could stir all sorts of things into this ice cream like chocolate bits, gingersnaps, toffee, candied ginger, etc.  Or you can leave it plain and serve with a variety of toppings.  It would also be delish with a warm gooey chocolate brownie.  Or, sandwich it between two gingersnaps for a casual dessert or after-school snack.