pumpkin ice cream

Because the genetic history of the pumpkin is intertwined with the squash I thought I would use pureed butternut squash.  Saying “butternut squash ice cream” does seem like such a mouthful…so pumpkin ice cream it is! You can of course use canned unsweetened pumpkin if you like. Butternut squash has a sweet nutty taste and when blended together with some warm spices makes this a festive type of ice cream. As this is a custard based ice cream using free range eggs is my choice. So if you are a pumpkin fan…start churning!

Ingredients:

  • 225g  prepared butternut squash or canned pumpkin
  • 600ml whipping cream
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (optional)
  • for garnish, 50g chopped walnuts (optional)

for the butternut puree

Peel the skin from one large butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes and steam for about 20 minutes or until tender. Pass through a food mill with a medium blade or place in a food processor and process until pureed. Put the pureed butternut squash into a sieve and place over a bowl, letting some of its water drain, about 45 minutes.

for the custard

Place a saucepan over medium heat, pour in the cream, add the brown sugar and pumpkin spice mix.  Stir to dissolve the sugar, heating the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk the egg yolks and Kahlua (if using) until smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and gradually but slowly whisk into the egg yolks until combined.

Place the bowl with the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 8 minutes) and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it. Do not let the mixture boil at any stage or it will curdle. Remove for the heat and cool, stirring occasionally to stop a skin forming.

Combine the pureed butternut squash or canned pumpkin, vanilla extract and Kahlua (if using) with the cooled mixture. Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufactures instructions usually 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the churned ice-cream to a freeze safe container, cover and freeze for about 2 or three hours until firm before serving.

Storage: This ice cream can be made a couple of days in advance. By placing  some cling film directly on the surface of the firmed ice cream and covering with a lid helps preserve its fresh taste. Home-made ice-cream will set very hard so I always place the container in the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes to soften before using an ice-cream scoop.

 Pumpkin Spice Mix

 An electric spice or coffee grinder which is reserved especially for the job of grinding my spices and making up small batches at a time keeps the rich flavour of the spices at their freshest.

  • 1 teaspoon  ground allspice                        1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon         or         1 inch piece  of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground  nutmeg                         4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger                            1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pinches of ground cloves                          1 teaspoon ground ginger

If using ground spices:Mix all the ground spices together and store in a small airtight container.

If using whole spices: Grind the allspice, cinnamon and cloves in an electric spice or  coffee grinder, then mix together with the nutmeg and ginger. Store in a small airtight container.

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churning your own ice cream!

Having my own ice cream machine has given me much more flexibility when making different types of ice creams and frozen ices. Without the machine, the method of hand stirring and still freezing ice cream was very time-consuming with some recipes. Home-made ice cream without all the additives is a big plus. Children love to cook and I know that making their own ice cream will be a big hit with them… it was with mine!

Rock salt and ice used in the freezing process of ice cream

Some years ago I decided to buy my first ice cream machine and the only one I could find at the time was the type requiring rock salt and ice which you had to layer around the inside container of the machine, chilling and freezing the mixture inside while being churned … at least the churn was electric and not hand-cranked!

Crushing and layering the ice was a bit of a hassle plus keeping an eye on the salt and ice levels (living in a hot climate) posed another challenge. Over time, excitement and enthusiasm of making home-made ice cream began to melt away (pun intended) and the machine ended up in the store-room gathering dust…eventually given away.

Churning the ice-cream with an electric paddle helps break up the ice crystals and incorporates air, resulting in a lighter and smoother ice cream

When traveling, visiting kitchen shops are always high on my list… so it wasn’t  long before I had a new ice cream machine wrapped snugly inside my suitcase… bound for Bahrain .

The freeze bowl type with the  electric churn is the most popular and the one I use, light in weight and taking up very little space on my kitchen worktop. The bowl houses a special liquid freezing solution (hurray no ice and salt) insulated inside its walls which then needs to be placed for a minimum of 10  hours (depending on model) in the freezer before use. Before buying you might want to check that your freezer, especially drawer types can accommodate the size of the bowl.

Make sure when drying the bowl that you use a lint free cloth,  taking care to dry all the little nooks, if they get blocked with ice the motor head will not attach properly, plus chipping the ice away may damage your bowl.

Tip:  After making a batch of ice cream I always return the bowl (washed and dried) back to the freezer compartment where it is stored all the time, making it always available for use.

The larger and more expensive ice cream machines contain their own freezer unit and work independently. The big advantage is that they can churn out one batch of ice cream after another. Heavy and taking up a much bigger space on a kitchen worktop.

Other uses: Need to chill a bottle of wine fast…use the freeze bowl!

Pumpkin Ice Cream coming up …!

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Rose Petal and White Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and ices are all types of frozen desserts enjoyed all over the globe. Versatile and popular these frozen treats have many flavour combinations to choose from, each of us having our own personal favourites. Long before mass production, ice cream was traditionally made with a few simple ingredients… milk, cream, sugar, eggs (not always) and natural flavourings. However, over the years and due to its growing popularity and demand, ice cream is now mass-produced.  As a result, the ingredients list of this has grown too…but not always in a good way!

what’s the real scoop?

Is it worth making your own ice cream when so much is available to buy? I believe it is…try reading (the print is so small) the ingredients list on some ice cream cartons.  For example, you may see words like polydextrose, aspartame, lactitiol, maltitol and many E numbers. Do most of us know what they are? Now scroll down and read the ingredients list of this simple home-made ice cream recipe…

I watched these interesting videos regarding ice cream and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and thought I would share… it really is food for thought!  Jamie Oliver on the David Letterman’s show did mention something about beavers anal glands.

Rose Petal and White Chocolate Home-Made Ice Cream

No ice cream machine needed for this very easy smooth and creamy recipe. As it is all cream based… go easy on the servings size.  Serves four but you can easily double the recipe to make more. I like to make small amounts of ice cream at a time, keeping everything as fresh tasting as possible. This ice cream is best served on the day of making.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dried rose petals
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 50g  powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose-water
  • 25g good quality white chocolate

How to make:

Place a metal or plastic container into the freezer to chill.

Add the dried rose petals into a mixing bowl. Pour in the cream and add the powdered sugar. Mix everything together and place the mixing bowl into the fridge for about 10 minutes, the cream will be lightly perfumed by the dried rose petals. Meanwhile finely chop the white chocolate and set aside.

finely chop the rose petals using scissors

Take the mixing bowl from the fridge and whisk the cream until soft peaks form using an electric whisk.  Add the rose-water and white chocolate and fold into the cream using a spatula. Scoop the contents of the mixing bowl into the chilled container from the freezer and smooth over the top of the cream with the spatula. Cover and place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until firm before serving.

whisk the cream into soft peaks 

Tip: Making the ice cream hours ahead of serving you will find the ice cream will have frozen solid and impossible to scoop from the container. Usually what I do is take the container of ice cream from the freezer and place it into the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This softens the ice cream, making it easier to scoop into balls with an ice cream scoop.

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream: Omit the dried rose petals. Replace the rose-water and white chocolate with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 25g of finely chopped dark or milk chocolate.

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