Thursday, November 10, 2011

Since It Has Pumpkin in It, This Counts as Health Food, Right?

I'm a pumpkin-loving gal. In middle school and high school, I often requested pumpkin pie in lieu of birthday cake (if you have any idea how much I love chocolate cake, you know how noteworthy this really is). My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake. So when a good friend of mine repeatedly requested "the perfect fall ice cream," the choice seemed obvious to me: pumpkin cheesecake ice cream.

I went with pumpkin cheesecake ice cream and not pumpkin pie ice cream because cheesecake already has a lot of dairy in it, making it easier to convert to an ice cream. I googled around and found a couple pumpkin cheesecake ice cream recipes, and went with the one I though sounded the best. I taste-tested the base before chilling and decided it wasn't pumpkin-y enough for my taste, so I more than doubled the amount of pumpkin in the recipe. But I still wasn't happy with the final results: the ice cream was too tangy. So the second time around I cut the amount of sour cream and upped the amount of cinnamon. And since I've discovered I like ice cream with texture, I folded in chunks of graham cracker crust. The second batch was perfect.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

Makes about 2 quarts

14 oz. cream cheese
1 (15.3 oz.) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)
zest of 2 lemons
1 c. sour cream
2 c. half-and-half
1 1/3 c. sugar
6 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
2 t. grated nutmeg
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 graham cracker crust (I recommend store-bought because it breaks into chunks instead of crumbling - homemade tends to get crumbly)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, put in a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the spices if necessary.

Break the graham cracker crust into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Fold in pieces of graham cracker crust, and transfer to container to finish freezing. For best results, let sit overnight or for a day or two for flavors to balance and meld.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of folding in a graham cracker crust, you can do what I did with my Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream: make an ice cream sandwich out of graham crackers. Similar effect, and perhaps a little less effort (and more fun to eat).

I'm especially proud of this little creation because it's the first time I've tweaked an existing recipe so much that it really is my own now. I don't often go off-script, but I'm really happy with the results this time. Perhaps I'll dare to go astray again in the future?

I doubt this batch will last until Thanksgiving - I just like it too much - so I'll probably be making more soon. I can't imagine it supplanting pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake entirely, but it might be a good companion at the end of the meal.


Allison said...

I stumbled upon your blog searching google to explain why happiness keeps alluding me. Based on the number of blogs dedicated to the search for happiness, I know I am not alone. But more interestingly, after reading through your posts I found this fabulous creation that I must try! It's nothing short of perfection. I just wish I found it before Thanksgiving! That's a whole other topic...

Thanks Erin. Your blog has given me what maybe momentary happiness but is happiness nonetheless!

Erin said...

@Allison - Welcome! I'm so glad you stumbled across my blog. I hope you find many happy moments (one of which might be chowing down on some pumpkin cheesecake ice cream, and if it is, I want to hear about it!).

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