I don’t know about you but I love eating ice cream, no matter the time of year, and I live in Minne-snow-ta, so that should tell you something about my deep affinity towards the cold dessert. However it wasn’t until my years in Portland and my first experience with Salt & Straw ice cream that I realized that ice cream was no longer reserved for the classic flavors, but rather was an avenue for creativity and imagination. It was with that spirit that I purchased our first Cuisinart ice cream maker. Thankfully my ice cream making abilities have improved since my first go around that lead to a tooth-paste like mint taste and an overflowing mess which would have been more fun to clean up had the flavor been better!
So in honor of my favorite season of the year, I crafted up a pumpkin chai ice cream, a classic flavor with a little bit of fun, as my husband would put it! The initial introduction to your taste buds will have you feeling as if you have been transported to a pumpkin patch, and the rich spice aftertaste that lingers in your throat will have you wanting to put on your coziest sweater and get a Chai latte in hand.
PUMPKIN CHAI ICE CREAM
Makes one quart ice cream
1. In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring to a boil:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 Tablespoons chai liquid concentrate (I used Oregon Chai)
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2. In the meantime, whisk together in a medium bowl until pale and thick:
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3. Once the milk mixture has reached a slight boil, slowly add 1/2 of it to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Once the yolk bowl is warm to the touch, pour into the remaining hot milk mixture. (Note: This is a very important step as pouring too much hot mixture into your cold yolk mixture will essentially result in scrambled eggs. Thus by slowly introducing hot into cold, you are tempering the eggs, allowing them to slowly rise in temperature).
4. Reduce heat to low. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. (You should be able to draw a line on the back of the spoon with your finger.)
5. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium sized bowl.
6. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Cover and chill by placing the bowl in the back of the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
7. Once the mixture is chilled, pour it into your freezing ice cream bowl and churn per the manufacturer’s directions.
8. Transfer ice cream from the ice cream maker to an ice cream storage tub or a one quart airtight container. Place container in the back of the freezer for at least an hour to allow the ice cream to set.