I know what some of you are thinking. It’s fall! Why would you post an ice cream recipe? The truth is, I was sitting outside the other day, scrolling through my social media and enjoying the cool 94 degree temps here in west Texas and… what? Oh, you read that right! 94 degrees. At the end of October. Sigh.
Anywho, as I’m scrolling through my social media, wiping the sweat from my brow, I came across an older recipe for pumpkin ice cream from Danielle Walker’s “Against All Grain” Facebook page. I love her grain free recipes. In fact, she just released her brand new cookbook, “Celebrations“, at the end of September that has already hit the best seller list! (Pick it up here!) If you have begun making the effort to ditch wheat & most or all grains, her recipes will certainly make it easier for you.
Where was I? Oh yes, ice cream in fall. It’s always difficult when you live in a warm climate to feel the holidays. Does that make sense? You know, when the inside of the house is all lit up with Christmas spirit, smelling of pine, and you step outside in your shorts and end up with a sunburn? The holiday can get lost in translation. So the thought of a spiced pumpkin ice cream was a perfect mix for those of us who are ready for the season change… but maybe the season isn’t cooperating!
If you’re human, like me, there’s usually that one ‘thing’ that can tempt you back to the bad stuff. And it seems like ice cream is a very, very popular ‘thing’. For me, it’s always been donuts. Not just any donuts, but the fluffy glazed ones. You know, one of the worst things we could pick for our health to indulge on. Sniff. But ice cream isn’t far behind, as its usually packed with sugar and artificial, well, everything, and then topped with candies as if it wasn’t sweet enough. This ice cream is different. It’s filled with deliciousness instead of guilt.
Canned or Fresh Pumpkin Puree?
That’s going to depend on you and the amount of time you have. There are some terrific organic pumpkin purees out there, my favorite being this one. I like buying it in bulk at Amazon because, let’s face it, it’s fall and there’s going to be a lot of recipes with pumpkin, so it’s handy to keep around. Coincidentally, should you have leftovers, it’s a great natural laxative for your dogs. Just a little fun fact.
If you want to have that extra little oomph in flavor, you can kick things into superhuman mode and make your own pumpkin puree. Just pick up a sugar pie pumpkin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, slice the pumpkin in half & remove the seeds and stringy goop (flesh lol) and place them cut side down on a parchment lined pan. Rub the skin lightly with some coconut oil before adding enough water to the bottom of the pan to cover about an inch up the pan. (A roasting pan is probably the best choice for this procedure.) Bake it about 30-40 minutes until the flesh is soft. After it’s had time to cool a bit, scoop out the meat and puree it in your blender. Strain the excess water using a fine mesh strainer. It really is super simple, just takes a little more time.
Dairy or No Dairy?
I know dairy is something many people are trying to cut out. Quite often I will use alternatives myself, but this recipe I’ve gone ahead and used not only organic cream, but organic cream cheese as well. It makes it super ice creamy. However, if you’re trying to avoid dairy completely, you can easily substitute the dairy for an equal amount of full fat coconut milk like this one. It turns out just as amazing and it’ll be dairy free and paleo friendly!
Sweeteners, Which One Is Best?
In this recipe, a liquid sweetener just makes more sense. This time I decided to use grade B maple syrup as it imparts a delicious flavor which just seems to go with pumpkin recipes well.
If you wanted to add a little punch of nutrition, you could use a high quality, raw honey.
For those who are wanting something low glycemic, but still all natural, Yacon Syrup is the ingredient of choice! Yacon is made from the roots of the yacon plant. I know, you’ve never heard of it, right? It’s grown in the Andes mountains in South America, and looks similar to a sweet potato. Its consistency and color is similar to molasses.
For the sake of time here, I’m going to save all the bells and whistles about Yacon syrup for a future article about sweeteners. However, the most important point you should know about this little root is that has a super low glycemic index of only 1 (compared that to table sugar – sucrose – which sits at a stunning 65!). It also has several healthful benefits, backed by scientific studies. Best of all, it’s prepared using a chemical free manufacturing process that resembles the way maple syrup is made. This sweetener is, by far, the best choice.
Which Spices Should I Buy? Is There Really A Difference?
I felt like I needed to add just a quick little note here about spices & flavorings. I’ll keep this short and sweet for the sake of this post. YES. It makes a big difference, not only in flavor, but in what you are actually getting in those little bottles. For one, non-organic spices are irradiated… and let’s face it, that doesn’t even sound healthy (it’s not). In addition, spices are often one of the top faked foods according to Larry Olmsted of “Real Food, Fake Food.” This book is a must read, by the way. Quite often the product you think you’re using is a mix of other, well, “things” and only slightly resembles what it should be.
So, like any other product, an organic and reputable company is always best. The cinnamon I use and trust is Frontier Co-op’s Ceylon Cinnamon. Sometimes it’s hard to find the organic pumpkin pie spices in the stores, so I either order Frontier Co-op or Simply Organic from Amazon. The vanilla I love with all my heart is Singing Dog Vanilla. The flavor is amazing and it comes with a vanilla bean inside. As an option, you can grate just a smidgen of this into your ice cream recipe, I did.
OK, enough babbling… let’s get to the recipe!
- 1 - 15 oz Can of Organic Pumpkin Puree (or equivalent fresh pumpkin puree)
- 2-1/2 - Frozen Organic Bananas (a little less if they're large)
- 1/4 cup Organic Cream Cheese
- 1/4 cup Organic Heavy Cream
- 1-1/2 tsp Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2-1/2 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup (use Yacon Syrup for a lower glycemic recipe)
- 1-1/2 tsp Organic Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tsp Organic Ceylon Cinnamon
- Optional: A small bit of grated vanilla bean for recipe.
- Optional: Chopped raw pecans or walnuts to top off your masterpiece!
- Prepare early for the recipe by freezing your pumpkin puree in either an ice tray or candy mold ahead of time. Make sure to cover them with some type of wrap to prevent freezer burn.
- Put bananas, already peeled, in a freezer safe bag and place them and the pumpkin puree in the freezer overnight.
- Depending on how large the pumpkin cubes are (in my case they were small enough) you may need to let them sit out on the counter for a few minutes to soften before adding them to the recipe.
- When they're ready, add your frozen pumpkin, frozen bananas, and the rest of the ingredients to your food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice in between and make sure all the frozen bits have blended well.
- Depending on the consistency when you're done, you can either serve it right away (if you like a softer ice cream) or transfer to a covered, freezer safe bowl and pop it in the freezer for an hour or two to harden.
- If you are lactose intolerant, use a 1/2 cup canned (full fat) coconut milk to substitute for the cream cheese and heavy cream.
- If you're diabetic, use the dairy-free version, as well as the Yacon Syrup alternative! Delicious and super duper healthy!
- Share this with friends & family!