Most times when I find myself in the kitchen, or mentally developing recipes to be made in the kitchen, I always aim at combining the things I love the most. It could be the seasonal autumn apples that I crave all the time, the intense flavour of my favourite goats cheese combined with that beautiful pork chop I just bought – and bam there I had a wonderful sunday dinner. I actually think that most of us are creating many of our meals this way without even thinking about it. And I bet that this is why some of us (the geeks at least) can be difficult to cook for, because we are so damn used to eating all the foods we love the most all day long!
Well yesterday I had a craving for one of my favourite autumn desserts – Pumpkin Pie! I love pumpkin pie, and ever since I introduced myself to it around 5 years ago, it has been at the top of my autumn dessert list. It is just perfect. It has the right texture, colour, flavour and it is even based upon a vegetable!! Luckily I had a little hokkaido on hands and I was ready to cook. But what about that ice cream I had craved all day. I did not have any to serve on the side of the pie….and then a new idea was born: Why not make ice cream that tastes like pumpkin pie.
My new bright ice cream idea was actually quite easy to get on to. I had some full fat coconut milk, a cupboard filled with warm spices and some plain almonds that needed to be played with. I wanted to add the almonds to the ice cream to have something that resembled the pie crust, because we do not want to cheat anybody here, when I say pumpkin pie – we need to be able to taste all of that gorgeous pumpkin pie in there.
As you might know, I have a little conflict with all that sugar stuff, we do not want to have to many refined carbs to tricker our blood sugar levels, but when it comes to ice cream you really do need a pretty intense sweetness in your base, because as soon as it freezes that sweetness will be less distinct and you will lack some flavour. I solved the problem by adding half coconut sugar and half sukrin gold. The coconut sugar contains minerals, vitamins and it does not have much effect on our blood sugar. Sukrin gold is an natural, low calorie sweetener that is made from Sukrin (eritritol: a sugar alcohol, that occurs naturally in some fruits), tagatose (a functional sweetener, found in dairy products), Glycerol (yet another natural sugar alcohol), malt extract (gluten free) and stevia. It has an intense dark flavour, that resembles a light brown sugar. It is one of my favourite sugar alternatives that I use whenever I need to make dessert or add a little sweetness in dishes. But I always keep in mind to use it with caution because it can still tricker that sweet tooth of yours and it is artificially made even though it is from natural sources.
The ice cream is actually pretty nutritious compared to regular ice cream. It contains half a kilo pumpkin, that we can happily state is a vegetable, healthy natural fats from coconut and even a great sugar alternative. Furthermore it only holds about 7 g carbohydrates and 140 kcal pr 100 g.
I was actually quite excited about this ice cream experiment. I was not sure about the flavours, sweetness or texture – but I am very happy to say that it was a success and right now I am planning in having yet another bowl for lunch (because it is a vegetable ice cream right?).
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Coconut & Roasted Almonds
Serves around 6-8 and makes approximately 1,2 litre
Notes: Adjust sweetness according to your pumpkin, they differ quite a bit, and remember that the warm base tastes very sweet compared to the finished ice cream.
Ice cream base
500 g organic hokkaido pumpkin (one small or half a big)
1 tsp coconut oil
2 cans full fat coconut milk (800 ml)
150 g coconut sugar/maple syrup or golden sweetener of your choice (I used half coconut sugar/ half sukrin gold)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground vanilla/ or beans from 1 pod
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
A pinch of salt
100 g almonds
Preheat oven to 200 °C/400 °F. Rinse and clean your pumpkin very carefully and cut it in half. Scoop our seeds and rub the inside with coconut oil. Place inside down and roast in the oven for approximately 30 min until tender. Remove from oven. Turn down oven heat to 150 °C/300 °F and roast almonds for 20-25 min until golden inside. Set a side to cool and chop them up.
In a blender combine all of the ingredients besides the almonds and blend for 2-3 minutes until you have a smooth and creamy base. Transfer into a bowl and place in the fridge overnight or until completely cool (speed up process and place in the the freezer for 1-1,5 hr).
Next step is to transfer the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacture’s directions. It took me about 40-45 min. When complete pour the ice cream into a freeze prove container and swirl/fold in the chopped almonds. Cover the ice cream and place in the freezer to become completely firm.
Remove ice cream at least 15 min prior serving to get the perfect texture. You can serve the ice cream with extra chopped almond or a tbsp of nut butter and maybe a splash of maple syrup or coconut cream. Enjoy!