I know it’s Fall when my CSA box is full of winter squash of various shapes, colors and sizes. Perhaps my favorite squash of all is the velvet textured butternut squash. A pastry chef friend shared her hot tip for pumpkin pie filling: there’s no pumpkin in it! Just butternut squash. I wholeheartedly agree with her.
Why? Because most of what we think of as pumpkin spice flavor comes not from the pumpkin, but from the spice mixture. And butternut squash’s texture is consistently velvety smooth when used in creamy pumpkin pie fillings — and in my rich, nicely spiced Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream. The butternut purée does double duty in this easy ice cream.
Not only does it offer beautiful color and that characteristic pumpkin note, it helps create a silky smooth texture in the finished ice cream. For a delicious make-ahead Fall dessert this this ice cream is just right– Enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
makes about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream
one small butternut squash
2 1/2 cups 1/2 &1/2, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt, fine
Prepare the butternut squash purée. Halve and seed a small butternut squash. Microwave in a covered dish with a few TB water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is quite tender. Cool until warm, then scoop out the flesh. Smash the cooked butternut squash into a bowl, then measure out about 1 cup of flesh. Purée 1 cup of butternut squash flesh in a blender with 1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2 until very smooth.
Add all of the remaining ingredients to the butternut squash purée in the blender and blend on low until combined and smooth. Pour into a covered container and chill until very cold.
Freeze mixture in an ice cream freezer until soft serve consistency, per manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have access to an ice cream freezer, you may freeze the mixture in an appropriately sized pan. Stir the freezing mixture several times an hour to keep the ice crystals as small as possible.
Pack the soft frozen ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for a couple hours to firm up the ice cream.