Spicy Pumpkin Ice Cream

Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Makes 1 quart


  • 1 small pie pumpkin or Kabocha, Buttercup or butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds) (alternatively you can use 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin)
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese 5-spice powder


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly.
Step 3: Scoop the flesh into a food processor and purée until completely smooth. Measure out 3/4 cup for the ice cream. Reserve the rest of the purée for another use.  Alternatively you can skip steps 2 and 3 and use canned pumpkin. I used Libby's brand.
Step 4: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Step 5: Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the pumpkin purée and the honey and whisk until smooth.
Step 5: Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Step 6: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup and Chinese 5-spice powder in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. I substituted the Chinese five spice powder with pumpkin pie spice because I didn't have any chinese five spice.  This substitute worked ok but the next time I make it, I will use the Chinese five spice. The ice cream lacked the little kick I think the 5 spice powder would have given it.
Step 7: Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Step 8: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture in a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Alternatively, you can place your mixture in a bowl and place in an ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold about 30 minutes. 
Step 9: Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on the machine. If you don't have a stand alone electric ice cream maker, an ice cream Kitchen Aid attachment works really well. Churn on the lowest speed for 30 minutes. 
Step 10: Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

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