Dairy-free Pumpkin Ice Cream

Think about your favourite ice cream. Not your favourite flavours, but the ice cream itself. Who makes it? What makes it so good?

In my opinion, a good ice cream has three components:

  1. A ton of fat
  2. Eggs
  3. Lots of flavour.

This even applies to vanilla ice cream. Especially vanilla ice cream.

For Pumpkin Week I started googling for pumpkin ice cream recipes that I could draw inspiration from and put my own unique spin on. The minimum criteria:

Eggs, canned pumpkin and spices.

Dairy was optional because my body doesn't like it but my taste buds do. Generally, the amount of dairy in regular ice cream makes me flatulent and sometimes produces excess mucous. However, ice cream is delicious and farts amuse me, so I do treat myself to “real” ice cream on occasion. If I can make a really good non-dairy ice cream at home, that's a bonus.

Eggs make ice cream smooth and creamy. If you want to know why, see the Serious Eats article linked at the bottom.

When I came across a recipe called “The Best Paleo Pumpkin Ice Cream” it matched all the criteria and was non-dairy. Furthermore, I tend to be seduced by superlatives. I want to know if the superlative is true. That is, it it really “the best”?

I didn't quite get the ice cream made and this post published during Pumpkin Week. I started the ice cream making process on Friday evening, setting the curd in the fridge to chill before going to watch the American League Championship Series baseball game.

The original recipes comes from The Paleo Cavewoman. Of course I put my own spin on it. I toyed with the idea of making candied pecans (pralines) to add, or bacon, or candied bacon, but I rejected those ideas this time. I also doubled the recipe because it didn't seem to make much.

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pumpkin ice cream ingredients on stove

The Best Dairy-Free Nutty Pumpkin Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 400 mL (13-14 fl oz) cans coconut cream1
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup raw honey OR
1/4 cup raw honey + 1/4 cup unsulphured  blackstrap molasses2 (or whatever ratio you prefer – I used 1/4 cup each)
2 tsp vanilla bean powder or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (easier to find)
3 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups (355 mL – or half a 796 mL/30 oz can) pumpkin puree
1 drop ginger essential oil3  or 1 tsp grated ginger and/or 1 Tbsp chopped candied ginger (optional)4
1/2 cup chopped or crushed pecans (I crush them in my hand)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients except candied ginger (if using) in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a low boil while whisking. The egg yolks will cook and thicken and you want them well whisked.
  • Remove from heat and strain mixture into a bowl or container, and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Chill mixture in refrigerator.
  • Place mixture in an ice cream maker, and run until the desired consistency is reached (thick creamy consistency is usually preferred)
  • Place in a freezer-safe container, stir in pecans and candied ginger, if using, and freeze. Or serve immediately

Want to add Dairy Free Whipped Topping to that? It's so easy it's barely a recipe, but I created a post for it anyway.

Notes about ingredients

1Don't worry about getting the exact size. I don't think it will throw off the recipe, though better bigger than smaller if you're keeping ingredient amounts the same. Taste as you go. Regarding brands: I used Aroy-D Coconut milk, which is thick. Brands I also like: A Taste of Thai, Thai Kitchen

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2I don't like my sweets too sweet. I like bitter-sweet, or burnt-sweet. Molasses also makes me think of fall, and pie. I use Wholesome Sweeteners brand but use whatever brand you want.

3 I use Young Living brand, as I'm a distributor, but if you have a preferred brand, go for it. If you want to give Young Living a try, sign up as a distributor.

4 Adding grated ginger to the mixture in the saucepan would essentially steep it and give it a good ginger flavour. Adding candied ginger after would double up that flavour.

pumpkin ice cream custard cooking

Notes about ice cream makers:

I don't know how all ice cream makers work. I have the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. My boyfriend owned it before I moved in. Last spring I almost broke the machine while making roasted strawberry rhubarb cream cheese ice cream. While being reprimanded, mostly because I didn't attach the bowl to the base correctly, I learned that solids can't be churned in with the ice cream. They have to be stirred in at the end. This is why candied ginger would need to be stirred in after the ice cream is made and why I stirred the nuts in. If you have a different ice cream maker and you don't know if you can churn solids or not, consult the manual.

pumpkin ice cream churning

Nutritional notes on unsulphured blackstrap molasses

Backstrap molasses is packed with nutrients. 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of the Wholesome Sweeteners brand contains 80% of the recommended daily value of potassium, 40% of the recommended daily value of calcium, 60% of the recommended daily value of iron, 40% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B6, and 32% of the recommended daily value of magnesium.

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The ice cream custard (cooked but not churned) was so delicious. I kept licking the utensils and saucepan. Sweet and full of egg and pumpkin.

pumpkin pie ice cream

Also read

Do I Need to Use Eggs in Ice Cream (and How Many?) – Serious Eats