Jeni Britton Bauer is the queen of ice cream, thanks to her retail stores in Ohio and with her cookbook, “Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams at Home” (Artisan, $23.95). Leafing through this volume is impossible for any ice cream lover not to want to make the likes of Salty Caramel, Plum Pudding, the Cognac, Brown Butter Almond Brittle or Blackstrap Praline ice creams all at the same time and just dive in spoon first.
Even the more exotic flavors — Celery with Candied Ginger and Rum Raisins, Olive oil with Sea-Salted Pepitas, Gorgonzola Dolce with Candied Walnuts and Beet with Mascarpone — sound great when you think about the layers of flavors.
Her book is also filled with a great many suggestions on how to make the smoothest ice cream ever. One of her secrets is to use cream cheese, instead of eggs, to add a velvety richness.
For the following recipe, you can make your own 5-spice blend. “The 5-spice blend that I use is composed of ground cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon, star anise and white pepper (authentic 5-spice is made with Szechuan peppers, but that is harder to find),” Britton Bauer writes. “Many blends also contain ground ginger; feel free to use whichever one you can find, and add other spices as you like. I often add fresh ginger to this recipe.”
Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice Cream
1 small pie pumpkin or Kabocha, Buttercup or butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds)
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
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
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.
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.
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk wit the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the pumpkin purée and the honey and whisk until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup and 5-spice powder in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. 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 2 minute. Remove from the heat.
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. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold about 30 minutes.
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
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.
Makes a generous quart.
From “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” by Jeni Britton Bauer