Why This Recipe Works
- Adding enough cream and eggs to the ice cream custard ensures a great texture, despite the moisture-heavy pumpkin purée.
- A light hand with the spices allows the pumpkin flavor to shine.
- Choose a brownie recipe that will stay soft even when frozen.
If you're a pumpkin purist, this is the ice cream for you. Cinnamon and clove make a subtly spiced baseline, further enhanced by turbinado sugar and a wee nip of bourbon—but it's the pumpkin you taste most of all. Of course the dark brownie chunks make an excellent addition if you like some chocolate and chewiness with your pumpkin.
For the best pumpkin ice cream, you can make your own purée, but canned is fine (just don’t get pumpkin pie filling). Not going overboard with the spices let the pumpkin shine through, but the rich eggs and cream are important to balance the water in the purée.
If chocolate isn’t your thing, here’s a simple pumpkin spice ice cream, or another that combines pie and ice cream in a single dessert.
Pumpkin Brownie Chunk Ice Cream Recipe
Soft, bittersweet brownie chunks give this creamy, lightly spiced pumpkin ice cream just the right amount of chew.
- 1 cup pumpkin purée, canned or homemade
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup raw (turbinado) sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon clove
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon bourbon
- 2 cups small brownie chunks, chilled in freezer (see notes)
In a medium saucepan, whisk together pumpkin purée, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and spices into a paste. Slowly whisk in cream and milk until smooth.
Set on medium-low heat and, whisking frequently, cook until custard thickly coats the back of a spoon but a swiped finger leaves a clean line. Stir in bourbon, strain into an airtight container, and chill overnight.
The next day, churn according to manufacturer's instructions. When finished, remove churning puddle and quickly stir in brownie chunks with a wide spatula. Transfer to freezer and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until firm.
The brownie chunks need to stay soft even when frozen. To achieve that I don't think you can do better than Smitten Kitchen's cocoa brownies. They're dead simple to make and are dark enough to stay flavorful under deep chill. This recipe calls for about 2/3 of the batch, leaving you with some to snack on while the ice cream churns. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into small (1/2-inch) chunks, and trim away the crisp edges.