The Challenge: Pumpkin for Dessert

June 29, 2011

To end my epic pumpkin challenge appropriately here are a few recipes for the final course of any proper meal — dessert! And since summer is officially upon us (I can’t believe I’ve been at this since November), I’m also including an ice cream recipe!

Pumpkin Custard

2 cups cream, milk, or a mix
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs plus 3 yolks
pinch of salt

Pumpkin Custard

Warm the cream, cinnamon, and half of the nutmeg in a skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes until steam starts to rise, but do not boil. In a separate mixing bowl beat the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt until pale yellow and thick. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture and once combined pour it into an ovenproof dish inside another larger baking dish with 1 inch of water at the bottom and sprinkle with the remaining nutmeg. Bake for 30-45 minutes and remove when still a little jiggley in the middle. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled within 1 day. I think it is best chilled.

For this recipe I really recommend using cream over milk. When I made it I used only 2% milk and it was good, but really light. The result was somewhat similar to pumpkin pie without the crust, but not quite as dense and rich. If you plan to serve this for guests (especially hot from the oven), I also recommend baking the custard in those cute, serving sized ramekins instead. You’ll still need to bake them inside a water filled pan, but they will take less time in the oven (20-30 minutes) and will be much more attractive and appetizing than my sloppy presentation here.

Pumpkin Slop

Pumpkin Bars

With its moist, cakey goodness and rich, cream cheese frosting, this baked good classic is always a crowd pleaser. Try this version from the Food Network’s Paula Deen. Click here for more pumpkin baked good recipes.

Pumpkin Bars


4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda


8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a fork or electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until blended. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

6 egg yolks or 2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups half and half or milk
1 cup cream
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Combine the half and half, pumpkin, spices, and cream with a ¼ cup of sugar in a large saucepan and heat for 3 to 5 minutes until steam rises. Yes, I know it seems weird that you actually cook ice cream, but trust me on this. Next beat the yolks/cornstarch with the remaining sugar until think and pale yellow. Add 2 tbsp of cold milk or water if using cornstarch to make a slurry.

Gradually add the yolk/cornstarch mixture to your saucepan and heat stirring constantly until thick. When the mixture can coat the back of a spoon it is done and should be cooled completely in an ice bath before putting it in an ice cream maker and following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice maker (like me), follow the instructions below.

Making Ice Cream without a Machine

1. While the mixture is cooling off in an ice bath, put a deep-sided, ovenproof pan in the freezer.

Ice Bath

2. Once your mixture is cool, add it to the chilled pan and put it in the freezer for 40-60 minutes.

3. Remove it and as it starts to freeze around the edges use an electric mixer or a spatula and a lot of elbow grease to break up the ice crystals in the frozen sections. This keeps the ice cream from having that freezer burn texture. Once it is an even consistency, return it to the freezer.

Elbow Grease

4. Repeat the above step every 30 minutes or so and watch your soupy mixture magically transform into ice cream before your very eyes. It may take up to 3 or 4 more rounds. The idea is to get the whole mixture to freeze at the same time so the consistency is smooth and creamy. Store the result in a covered container in the freezer.

Ice Cream Magic!

The entire process takes about 4 hours, fortunately most of it is unattended. I made the mistake of starting this at 8pm though and wasn’t able to stay up to finish. I ended up having to defrost my frozen solid mixture and restart the process the next day. The result was still delicious, but more crystallized than I would have liked.

One thought on “The Challenge: Pumpkin for Dessert

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Challenge Complete! : : livin' sassy

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