At this point in time, pumpkin pie and gingerbread are among the many treats dancing through our thoughts, especially since they only seem to come around once a year.
This began as an experiment to deconstruct pumpkin pie. I had ideas about what I could do with luscious pumpkin and shards of buttery caramelized pâte brisée crust, but let’s face it, there really isn’t anything that can rightfully take the place of the simple iconic satisfaction of a pumpkin pie. But still wanting to mix it up a bit, I decided to blend the spicy warmth of both pumpkin and gingerbread in a soothing seasonal ice cream. It’s a rich custard base with a chewy bite of ginger and that touch of molasses that reminds us that we are surely heading into the middle of November.
- This is a half recipe for gingerbread and can be baked ahead and wrapped or stored in an airtight container. You’ll only use about half for the ice cream so you’ll have a few bites leftover.
- It’s very important to taste for salt once the pumpkin, vanilla (and rum if using) is thoroughly mixed into the custard. Salt will really make the flavor pop, so keep adding a few grains at a time until you can tell the difference.
- When making a crème anglaise, do not let the mixture boil. Stir constantly and make sure you’re scraping the bottom of the pan continuously to distribute the heat and keep the mixture from becoming scrambled eggs. Pull off the heat if it starts heating up too fast.
- Now is a really good time to take inventory of your spices and replace any that may have lost their mojo.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Ice Cream
2 oz butter @ room temperature
1/3 C brown sugar
1 1/2 t peeled and grated fresh ginger
zest of 1/2 orange
1 egg @ room temperature
3 T molasses
3/4 C flour
1/4 t + 1/8 t baking powder
1/4 t + 1/8 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground cloves
1/4 C + 2 T buttermilk @ room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2” loaf pan with oil and a piece of parchment paper large enough to form an overhang along the length of the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for about 4 minutes until it is smooth and pale. Add the grated ginger and orange zest and beat 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and continue beating until emulsified. Slowly pour in the molasses and mix thoroughly. The mixture will look like it’s broken but it will come together when the dry ingredients are added.
Alternately add a third of the flour mixture and half the buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Finish the mixing by folding the batter with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are just absorbed. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the surface.
Bake for about 22 - 24 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
1 C heavy cream
1 1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 t ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 t salt
4 egg yolks
2 T granulated sugar
1 1/4 C pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla extract
1 t rum (optional)
Combine the cream, milk, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, spices and salt in a saucepan and simmer over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved.
Whisk together the egg yolks and 2 T granulated sugar until smooth. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly whisk into the yolks just a little bit at a time until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Keeping the custard at a low simmer, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Add the vanilla (and rum, if using). Taste for salt and keep adding until you have a bright flavor. Cool the custard, pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.
Pour about a third of the ice cream into a clean container. Layer with 3/8" slices of Gingerbread, covering the whole surface. Pour another third of the ice cream over the Gingerbread and smooth out the surface. Place another layer of Gingerbread on top of that and pour remaining ice cream on top and smooth the surface. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface, cover and place in your freezer until firm
To serve, scoop the ice cream and then let it sit for a bit to soften the Gingerbread.