Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

It’s that time of year again. Decorative gourds abound, and people prefer putting pumpkin in their face over putting a face on a pumpkin.

While I do love to make pumpkin pie, I usually make pumpkin ice cream instead. This year I decided to make a hybrid – pumpkin ice cream served in personal pie crusts.

The secret to great pumpkin ice cream is to not use carving pumpkins. They taste of nothing. Canned pumpkin is somewhat better, but I prefer to cook it from fresh, and it’s easy to do. In the autumn, many shops stock great pumpkin-like squashes. I prefer Kabocha (sometimes called Japanese pumpkin), but I’ve used other varieties, like Cinderella Pumpkin.

The individual pie crusts were quite a bit of work, but they were a huge hit (Anne wants us to make them for all ice creams!). They’re a fun and delicious alternative to cones. The only downside is they are a little bit flaky, so you may have some crumbs to clean up.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Delicious pumpkin ice cream served in individual pie crusts, with an optional crunchy topping.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Ice Cream
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Crank Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 2 quarts

Ingredients

Pumpkin Ice Cream

  • 1 kg kabocha (or other tasty pumpkin-like squash)
  • 1.5 eggs
  • 210 g honey
  • 55 g sugar
  • 1 tsp cloves (freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp ginger (freshly pureed)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (freshly ground)
  • 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

Pie Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 12 tbsp butter (1.5 sticks or 170g)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup ice-cold water

Pumpkin Seed Brittle Topping

  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 small handful pumpkin seeds (preferably the small green kind, not the ones you scooped out of the squash)

Instructions

Pumpkin Ice Cream

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.

  2. Cut the squash in half (from top to bottom) and scoop out the seeds.

  3. Add a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water to a foil-lined baking tray.

  4. Place the squash halves face down in the tray and put the tray in the oven.

  5. Bake until the squash is tender (approximately 1 hour). Remove the squash and let it cool.

  6. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash it with a potato-masher.

  7. If the honey is set, transfer it to a small saucepan over low-heat and warm it until it melts. You can add the sugar to the melting honey so it dissolves into the honey.

  8. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.

  9. Add 500 grams of the cooled squash (you will likely have extra) to the eggs and mix well.

  10. Mix in the cream and milk and stir until smooth.

  11. Grind the cloves and cinnamon into fine powders in a pestle and mortar and mix them into the squash-egg mix. Mince or puree the ginger and mix it in.

  12. If your honey was clear and runny, add it and the sugar to the mix. If you had to heat the honey/sugar mix to melt it, wait for it to be mostly cool before adding it to the squash mix.

  13. Transfer the mix to your ice cream machine and crank until frozen. When it's done, put it in the freezer for a while to firm up.

Pie Crust

  1. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

  2. Chop the cold butter into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch chunks. Put half the chunks in the flour and work the into the flour with clean fingers. Continue squeezing the butter chunks into the flour until you have a consistent mealy consistency.

  3. Add the rest of the butter chunks and work into the flour until the butter chunks are about half their original size.

  4. Add the cold water a little at a time while mixing the dough with a fork. You don't want it to get too wet, so you probably won't use all the water. Add just enough water to ensure the dough clumps and holds together when you press it in your hand.

  5. Knead the dough into a large ball and then tear off small pieces to make separate discs, about 2 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch. You should have about two dozen discs. Wrap them in plastic and put in the fridge to rest for an hour.

  6. When you're ready to bake the crusts, pre-heat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.

  7. Butter a muffin pan.

  8. Roll out each dough disc on a floured board until it's quite thin. Then place each one into one of the muffin holes. You may need to trim some excess crust so the crusts don't stick together. If you have baking beans or pie weights, add a few to each crust to prevent the crust from rising too much.

  9. Transfer to the oven and bake for approximately 14 minutes, or until the crusts are golden but not too brown. Let the crusts rest until they are cool enough to touch and then transfer them to a wire-mesh cooling rack.

  10. Repeat with the remaining pie crusts, and when they are all cool, put them in an airtight container in the freezer.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  1. Lay out a clean sheet of parchment paper.

  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When it's good and hot, pour the sugar into the pan.

  3. When the sugar starts to dissolve a bit, throw in a small handful of pumpkin seeds and stir with a silicone spatula.

  4. Within seconds, the sugar should melt completely and start to brown. The seeds will brown and crack a little too. As soon as it's all melted and golden, pour it onto the parchment paper in a large thin puddle.

  5. Let it cool. Remove the pumpkin seed brittle from the parchment and transfer to an airtight container.

To serve

  1. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it soften enough to scoop easily.

  2. Place one large scoop of ice cream into each pie crust.

  3. Break up a few pieces of pumpkin seed brittle and place on top of the ice cream scoop.

Peter Gerard

Peter carried the hand-cranking ice cream tradition from his family in Missouri to Scotland and eventually to New York. He is now likely the biggest importer of White Mountain Freezers to Europe, having imported more than a dozen machines...

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