The other day I posted a pumpkin cheesecake and now I’m posting pumpkin ice cream. We definitely have a pumpkin-dessert problem on this blog…
But can you blame me? These recipes are just too good. I first created this ice cream for Thanksgiving and my family went crazy for it. Creamy coconut milk… pumpkin and spice… candied pecan pieces… and even a rich eggnog-like flavor all blended together into a frozen dessert. Amazing.
If you’ve never had coconut milk ice cream, you’re missing out. It doesn’t taste like coconut at all, and provides just the right mouthfeel of real cream. The So Delicious and Coconut Bliss brands available in stores are absolutely perfect, but I had always struggled to make my own. Each time I tried, I could never get the right consistency. Straight out of the ice cream maker it would be way too runny, and after a few extra hours in the freezer it would turn into a solid block of ice. Hmm.
With this recipe, however, I think we finally have the ingredient mix just right. There are three things that help make this version work so well: 1) using half full-fat and half light coconut milk seems to be just the right combo for ice cream. 2) Adding a tablespoon of alcohol prevents the mixture from turning completely solid (more on that later) and 3) adding pumpkin puree helps with the consistency.
If you have an ice cream maker, this one is definitely worth a try.
Makes ~5 cups
- 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 15 oz can light coconut milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
- 1+ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon vodka or rum (optional)
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
Combine all ingredients except pecan pieces in a blender until smooth. At this point, you can give the mixture a taste and adjust anything as needed. It won’t be nearly as good now as when frozen, but you’ll get a good idea of which flavors need to be enhanced. I added a little extra maple syrup, spice, and pumpkin puree.
The vodka is optional, but highly recommended. Vodka doesn’t freeze like water, so when you add just a tablespoon to the ice cream, it gives it a lovely creamy consistency whereas it *can* have a tendency to become too solid with just the coconut milk.
Place this mixture in the refrigerator and allow to fully chill. Meanwhile, you can optionally toast the pecan pieces by themselves in a sauté pan, or add a drizzle of maple syrup (or even brown sugar…) to the pan to create candied pecans, which are amazing.
With the mixture chilled, follow your ice cream maker’s instructions, stirring in the pecans at the last minute. Straight out of the ice cream maker, it will likely still be fairly soft. Add to a chilled container (I used a loaf pan) and freeze for at least 3 hours until firm, and it’ll keep for 5+ days in the freezer.