The idea for this creamy homemade pumpkin ice cream recipe bubbled up in a most roundabout way. It actually started with the sampling of a carrot drink. I know, what-what? I was cruising the streets of Downtown L.A. in search of some amazing historic buildings to add to my next little downtown walking tour. (I lead a walking tour for friends and co-workers every few months.) Oh, and also there’s been lots of testing of vintage holiday cake recipes (like the Harvest Gold Pumpkin Cake) going on around here. I told you…it’s roundabout.
College Think Tank in Progress! There’s also lots and lots of discussion happening at our house these days with college kids (and their friends) back at home (hooray for me! even if it’s only temporary). Ideas are just zooming around here! Midnight conversations run the gambit from: life hacks, car repairs, new tech, world news, great books, coffee brewing, politics, philosophy, music, soul-searching, relationships and jobs. Second only to road trips, I think board games are the best way to get in on this spicy conversation.
So we started chatting up this new #DTLA Earth Bar and their amazing carrot juice that is so spectacular. Simply speaking, the flavor is incredible. It’s blended with cold-pressed carrot juice, hints of fresh orange juice and that sort of adult kick of fresh ginger. And that orange color is just so great, right? Here’s a shot of the new Downtown LA Earth Bar after hours…
Downtown Culture is on the move! BTW, the Earth Bar is tucked into one of my favorite #vintageLA buildings — the intriguing PacMutual Building (a portion of which was built for the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1908 after their San Francisco offices were destroyed in the aftermath of the 1906 SF earthquake). It’s one of SO many fascinating historic buildings that have recently been renovated and brought back to glistening life as part of the new downtown renaissance. Here’s a 16-second spin around Pershing Square…
In my little walking tours of downtown, I always remind my friends to “look up” when strolling the sidewalks. With the largest number of pre-WWII buildings in the country, the tops of the buildings (think: Beaux-Arts, Deco, quirky rooflines and ghost signs) are not to be missed. Take a peak at the Clock Building entrance to the PacMutual building to get an idea of the dramatic craftsmanship this building holds.
Break out that blender thing! Of course, this carrot juice (remember the Earth Bar carrot juice?) discussion caused an immediate no-holds-barred home testing (and re-testing) event. We don’t have a juicer (yet), though I can see that would be fun to have) so we used a former Mother’s Day gift from the kids — the Magic Bullet Blender. I’ve used it a zillion times to pulverize things but, for some reason, I never even tried to blast up a smoothie or a blended drink with it…until now.
Homemade Carrot Juice Champion! In our Final Best version, we tossed a handful of baby organic carrots into the blender along with some fresh-squeezed orange juice, a dribble of raw Tupelo honey, some fresh-grated ginger root and a couple’a ice cubes. Voila! The homemade hit version of the Earth Bar carrot drink. Bright with zing! Boom baby!
Ginger root sploitation – the superstar ingredient! We basically morphed the carrot juice idea with the autumn flavors of traditional pumpkin desserts (are you still with me on this?). And we taste-tested our way to a sensational pumpkin ice cream recipe to serve as a (or with an) upcoming holiday dessert. It was a fun and flavor-filled DIY kitchen project for a Saturday night. A not-so-straight line from historic downtown architecture > juice bar > DIY carrot juice > DIY pumpkin ice cream. Hello!
Use a spoon to scrape off a little skin from a young strapping ginger root branch and grate a little adult tang for a snappy flavor quotient. Be sure to chop the gratings extra fine for this recipe.
On towards the ice cream vision! For the ice cream, it’s that twang of orange juice and fresh ginger that does the trick, along with the traditional pumpkin spices, of course. And a few adult tweaks that give a tiny kick to the background flavors (including a pinch of red pepper and a dash of turmeric, of all things). Trust me on this one. Even the hipster kids at our house broke out in unanimous thumbs-up! Yes!
The supporting star — Allspice! I think the second superstar flavor of the traditional spiced pumpkin blend is freshly ground allspice pimenta berries (sometimes referred to as Jamaican pepper or newspice). Contrary to some views, allspice is not a combination of spices, but, rather, a fine grind of the dried, unripe (green) fruit of the Pimenta dioica tree. This exotic spice was identified in 1494 by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World and introduced to the European and Mediterranean markets during the 16th to 17th Centuries. The Jamaican allspice we used for our pumpkin spice blend has a clove scent and delivers a warm and rich flavor punch. Here’s my handful of allspice corns before they get whirred to a fine powder in our blasting blender…
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Mix:
First, let’s whip up a special blend of pumpkin spice mix (that you can use in everything from pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin chai tea to holiday pumpkin pies and pumpkin cakes). Oh, and now pumpkin ice cream. You could also just use a commercial blend of pumpkin spices, though you can’t really be sure what you’re getting in that spice blend, since they don’t usually specify what’s in the mix. And sometimes commercial blends are quite heavy on the cloves or the cinnamon. If you want to start with whole spices, like whole cloves, you can grind your own using a mortal and pestle or use an easy spice grinding device. The flavors are brilliant when the grind is fresh just like fresh-ground coffee that bursts with flavor when freshly ground.
Ingredients for our special Homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend:
This recipe is enough for our pumpkin ice cream so be sure to quadruple it (at least) and store it in a fresh, empty spice jar if you want more for upcoming holiday treats.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (we used Vietnamese cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or 1/8 teaspoon fresh-grated from whole nutmeg, ’cause it’s stronger)
1/4 teaspoon ground powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (not a blend, but finely ground allspice berry)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Now, on to the divine Homemade Creamy Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream!
The only tools you’ll need, beside an electric ice cream machine are: a large bowl for pre-mixing the ice cream “batter”, measuring cups and spoons and a whisk.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can still do this. The ice cream won’t be perfectly light without a machine but it still works and it will still be great — and maybe even more fun for a DIY kitchen project, especially with kids. Just freeze the batter in a couple of large zip-lock bags and return to it regularly as it begins to freeze to mix it by squeezing repeatedly on the outside of the bag. Or, stir it with a whisk or beat it with a blender every now and then as it starts the freezing process. You can also whip the whipping cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed and fold that into the mix before freezing (and then give it a stir or two during the freezing process).
Ingredients for Creamy Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream with Fresh Ginger and Orange:
This recipe is prepared for a 2-quart ice cream machine.
1 cup canned pumpkin (not spiced or sweetened)
1 cup orange juice, good quality (or fresh-squeezed)
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend (see recipe above) or store-bought Pumpkin Spice Mix
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, fine quality
1/8 teaspoon organic lemon flavoring (it’s strong so go easy)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ginger root, skinned, grated and very finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch (aka smidgen) ground cayenne pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Optional: 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup (for a lighter texture)
Optional Orange Coloring: (We didn’t add coloring to ours.) A drop or two of orange food coloring will give a bright orange color. You can also slosh in a little carrot juice (maybe 2 Tablespoons) to the mix for added orange color.
In a large bowl, whisk the pureed pumpkin, orange juice, sugar and spices.
Whisk in the cream (and optional corn syrup) until all ingredients are perfectly blended in the bowl.
Tip: Although you can add the ingredients directly into your ice cream machine, if you’re using a freezer-bowl type electric machine, unmixed ingredients can sometimes fast-freeze to the sides of the machine at initial start.
Pour the pumpkin ice cream batter into your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s freezing instructions.
In about 20 minutes we had a luscious soft-serve creamy pumpkin ice cream! For a firm ice cream, transfer the batch to a freezing container, seal with plastic wrap on the ice cream surface and freeze for 1 hour or more.
I think it will hold in the freezer tightly wrapped for a week or more (though we can’t seem to hold on to it long enough to run a proper length test.) Just smooth the plastic wrap over top of the ice cream to prevent air from spoiling your wonderworks.
Serve with, of course, our homemade vintage Harvest Gold Pumpkin Cake. Isn’t that cake just asking for a big scoop of homemade pumpkin ice cream?
And when you’re in town, don’t forget to look up!
Thank you for joining us for this roundabout food adventure.
You may also enjoy reading:
Top 10 Very Vintage Holiday Cakes (bakethiscake.com)
Fresh Banana Frosting for Betty’s Banana Layer Cake (bakethiscake.com)
Photo-graphic Bread Making – follow the photos (bakethisbread.com)
Homemade Maraschino Cherries (bakethiscake.com)