Where has this year gone? I can hardly believe that it's already the last day of summer. I'm ready for fall, though. It seems like this has been one of the hottest summers we've had in the ten years I've lived in central Texas. It was really nice being in Pennsylvania for a week--much cooler weather, for the most part.
I was still on vacation for a couple of days after we got back from PA. Thursday, I didn't do much of anything, since I wasn't feeling all that great. I seem to have caught whatever Gillian had for the first couple days of our trip (just a cold, I think). On Friday I did get out, because I really needed to take my car in for some routine maintenance. While that was being taken care of, I had a chance to go do some window-shopping. Borders, Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma--all fun places. =) I actually got out of all three without buying anything (though I did some pricing of kitchen torches in anticipation of the upcoming TWD crème brulée).
Our Williams-Sonoma store used to be a lot smaller. In fact, when I first moved to Austin, I was surprised that a city this size didn't really have a good kitchenwares store. Not too long ago they expanded it to about three times its previous size. Coincidentally, that was about the same time that Sur la Table opened up. =) I shop both, but one thing I like about Williams-Sonoma is that they often have samples out in their store. You can tell they're into fall already, since the stuff I tasted on Friday had an autumn theme. But while Friday started off pretty nice and cool (well, relatively), it still got up to almost 90. So even though I'm more than ready for some fall desserts, the weather really isn't cooperating yet. What to do?
Make pumpkin ice cream! I love pumpkin desserts. Well, not pumpkin pie (it's a texture thing for me), but pretty much anything else. I checked online and found a recipe (from Williams-Sonoma, as it turned out) that I used to make changes to my usual vanilla ice cream base. The end result is smooth and creamy and tastes very much like frozen pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
(inspired by this Williams-Sonoma recipe)
1 cup + 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup 1% milk (what I usually have on hand--other milk would be fine)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspooon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 oz pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk together one cup of the cream, the milk and the brown sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup cream along with the cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg. Still whisking, drizzle in about a third of the hot liquid to temper the yolks. Then whisk the the yolk mixture back into the remaining liquid in the double boiler. Heat, stirring frequently, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. The temperature should be between 170 and 180 degrees F. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl (to remove any stringy bits of pumpkin or eggy bits--it's kind of a pain, but worth it for the final texture).
Refrigerate the custard until well chilled, at least 3 to 4 hours. Churn the mixture into ice cream following the instructions for your ice cream maker. Makes about 3 1/2 cups (slightly less than 1 quart).