Pumpkin Ice Cream (sp)
By Tom Yates
Make no mistake, we are ice cream people. The great glaciers. One year, instead of exchanging birthday presents, we pooled our money and bought a table top mack daddy ice cream maker. Anytime and any day we will have some form of ice cream hidden in the freezer. I can practically do this in my sleep. Some people might think of ice cream as a seasonal treat. Seasonal, as in the summer season. Of course, there is nothing better than gorging on a cone, bowl or carton of refreshing ice cream on a hot day. That said, it should not be relegated to the summer.
As I walked the gravel paths of the farmer’s market, piles and piles of sugar pumpkins lulled me into the daydream of the holidays ahead. Or, most importantly, the food associated with vacations. Thinking of the usual suspects, I focused on the pumpkin ice cream. Why not? There will be pies galore everywhere we turn. Pumpkin soup might even come into the picture. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin rolls. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin everything. Yet surrounded by pumpkins right in the middle of an urban pumpkin patch, I returned to ice cream. Pumpkin ice cream. Eaten alone, poured over a hot pumpkin pie for a holiday double whammy, or poured into steaming coffee for a creamy boost, pumpkin ice cream could be the white canvas flavor bomb of the season. .
Because I’m not a baker, I’ve never given much thought to the debate surrounding the use of canned versus fresh pumpkin. I have thought a lot about where my food comes from as well as the faces behind the food. So, canned or fresh? While it probably wouldn’t have mattered, it’s pumpkin patch season right now, please. Why waste wealth?
It was probably as easy as opening a tin can. I cut a small Madison County sugar pumpkin in half (sometimes called a pie pumpkin), removed the seeds, reserved the seeds, laid the two halves on a baking sheet, cut side down, and slipped them into a preheated oven to roast for an hour. before taking them out of the oven to cool them. When they were cold enough to handle, I scraped off the soft yellow flesh in a food mill and turned it into a delicate mash. After a quick whisk, I slipped it into the fridge to cool for a few hours.
Using an electric hand mix (old school), I whipped 5 egg yolks with 1 cup of light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. After heating 1 1/2 cups heavy cream combined with 1 1/2 cups whole milk over low heat, I gradually mixed the warmed dairy with the egg mixture to temper the eggs before adding the combined mixture to the simmering cream. When the custard was thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon, I strained it through a fine mesh strainer and added 2 teaspoons of pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean extract. before mixing it with 1 1/4 cups chilled fresh pumpkin. mash potatoes. Thinking it was still a bit grainy from the mash, I ran it through the mesh strainer again for a smoother consistency and slipped it into the fridge to chill.
The easy part. I poured the pumpkin cream into the chilled ice cream jar, secured to the lid and let it rip for 25 minutes before putting the ice cream in a plastic container and tossing it in the freezer to prepare.
Brown the lily.
I rinsed the seeds in lukewarm water to free them from the fibrous pulp and dried them with a clean kitchen towel before mixing them with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 heaped tablespoon of sugar, a dusting of cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. After mixing quickly, I slipped the seeds into a 350 oven for about 8-10 minutes to toast and caramelize.
Maple spun sugar.
I may not be good at sweets, but I can turn the sugar around. While it can be dangerously tricky, it’s actually quite simple and fun. Now, I didn’t want to go all the way to croquembouche, spinning fine, delicate sugar threads all over the kitchen like a whirling dervish. I wanted solid pieces of crispy, crispy spun sugar. Edible sugar glass.
I combined a cup of sugar with half a cup of water, 1 tablespoon of corn syrup, and a teaspoon of pure maple syrup in a small cast iron skillet. After increasing the heat to medium, the sugar and corn syrup slowly dissolved in the water. Without stirring, I let the mixture bubble and tear until it hit the hard crack stage, 300-312 degrees on a candy thermometer. Working quickly and very carefully, I poured and swirled the melted maple sugar concoction on a non-stick silicone mat. It was a unique agreement. Spun sugar has its own spirit. He is not waiting for anyone. Just before the melted amber sugar solidified into maple stained glass, I scattered a few candied pumpkin seeds in the lace shards.
Long live the quiet reveries in the pumpkin patch.
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