Waste Not, Want Not

My grandmother was the Queen of Frugal. Having been raised in the Depression, she was skilled at using everything and wasting nothing. That was true for food, sewing, gardening, quilting, whatever. If she had something, she would find a use for it.

I can hear her now, "Waste not, want not."  

And although that skill was not directly passed onto me, in recent years, I have been more diligent in developing this sense of frugality—using everything and wasting as little as possible. Ahhh, wisdom and enlightenment...the by-products, I have come to believe, of one of the few benefits of aging.

So it seemed normal not to want to throw away a measly 3/4 cup of perfectly-good-roasted-sugar-pie-pumpkin I had leftover from the pumpkin pie I made at Christmas.

But, really, what can you do with less than a cup of pumpkin?

There wasn't enough to make a pumpkin cheesecake or even pumpkin bread or cupcakes. But, the truth is, since I haven't eaten gluten (wheat) since Christmas Day (and feel so much better), I really didn't want to make anything with flour.

Naturally, as an ice cream freak, I thought of pumpkin ice cream. But, really, pumpkin ice cream? And that wonderful, oh-so-rarely-used ice cream maker I have stored in the kitchen pantry (as well as in the freezer) deserves to come out and participate in the fun.

I knew if a recipe existed, it would be on one of my pastry heroes' websites, David Lebovitz. He's the king of all things delicious and ice cream is certainly one of his claim to fames.

And there it was. A recipe for pumpkin ice cream that called for exactly 3/4 of a cup of pumpkin puree. It was a match made in heaven.

And heavenly it was.

This pumpkin ice cream tastes just like pumpkin pie, without the crust, of course. The spices are just right and it's not too sweet.

My husband says it would be a perfect topper for pecan or even pumpkin pie...but I like it just the way it is.

A truly perfect scoop. Thanks, Lebovitz.

Buen provecho!

Pumpkin Ice Cream
Very slightly adapted by The Cowgirl Gourmet from David Lebovitz who adapted the recipe from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox

Print Recipe

Makes about 1 quart

If you must use canned pumpkin, make sure to find one that's 100% pumpkin. Often you'll find cans of Pumpkin Pie Filling, which usually has spices and sweetener already added, which you do not want for this recipe.

Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer before freezing, as directed. Pumpkin can be slightly grainy and straining the custard is a good idea to help smooth it out.

1 1/2 cups whole milk (although I used fat free, since that's what I had)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger (I used ground ginger and it was just as good)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks or 3 eggs (I used 3 eggs since I really didn't want to use 5 yolks!)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional, but recommended: 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, rum or brandy (I used rum and it makes the ice cream so creamy!)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (100% pure), or homemade* (see note below)

1. Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl (one that will hold at least 2 quarts, 2l) inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.

2. In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and salt.

3. Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam.

4. Whisk the egg yolks or eggs in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.

5. Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160º-170ºF.

6. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar, then stir until cool. Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

7. Whisk in the vanilla, liquor (if using) and pumpkin puree. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Lebovitz's variations: Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups white or milk chocolate chips, crushed caramel, chopped up Skor or Daim (toffee) bars, or chopped toasted pecans or walnuts. A bit of chopped candied ginger would be nice, too.

Leftover bits of crumbled gingersnaps or gingerbread, or even toasted bits of brown bread or gingerbread could also be folded in, or crumbled on top for serving, which was suggested in the book.

*To make pumpkin puree, use a sugar pie pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, lie face down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until soft, which is about 45 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Allow the pumpkin to cool and scoop out the flesh or just peel away the skin and voila! Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use, make cupcakes or something similar—or add it to your holiday sweet potato dish.
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