The Soup Blog
Recipes, Culinary Insights & Humor Spooned Up Fresh Every Week…………………(Now in its Ice Cream Phase)
A Season’s Promise: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Categories: Dairy, Ice Cream, Pumpkin, Spices

Happy Halloween!

I’m reading a new memoir called “The Reading Promise.”

The book recounts an agreement made between a father and his nine-year-old daughter to read together every night for 100 nights. I’m not very far into the book yet, so I don’t know how easy it was for them to reach that first goal but , after they got there, they didn’t want to stop.

So they kept it up, every night, until the girl finally went away to college—more than nine years later.

I decided to try it with my girls. I told them about this father and daughter and asked if they’d like to do the same thing. We all enjoy reading together, but I said that didn’t have to be what our streaks were about.

Instead, I asked each of them what they’d like to try to do together for 100 days. The other father and daughter had committed to at least 10 minutes each day, so that seemed like a good place to start.

Right away, my eldest asked if we could play catch, as I had secretly hoped she would. My youngest had a harder time deciding. At first we decided to walk together, but when her mother heard about it, she wanted in, and that wasn’t going to work. Sure enough, by the next morning, my daughter had let go of the walk thing and settled on drawing together.

Drawing? I asked at first, but then I quickly agreed.

The biggest part of this “promise” isn’t the thing itself. It’s the private time between father and child—dedicated time, unshared with anyone else—no sisters, no mothers, just us.

We’ve been at it for three days now (97 to go) and already the oldest sister is burning a hole in my hand with the power of her throwing. Her catching is getting a lot better too. Just imagine what it’ll be like in February.

The youngest and I did some free form drawing the first night. We each sketched different cartoon characters of our own creation. (I seem to have settled on elephants.) The next night we did some still lifes. She drew a slice of lime in vibrant and true colors. I drew soup cans full of pencils and my slowly emptying bottle of beer. Tonight we brought back our cartoon characters and made our own comic strips.

Their mom was away in the city tonight, so the eldest felt a little left out by the drawing. Yet she understood that she had already had her time and respected her sister’s turn. She would up doing her own drawing anyway, almost secretly watching us from the kitchen counter. She’s a pretty good drawer too.

Tomorrow night’s going to be a lot busier. So we’ve already arranged to get up early to keep our streaks alive. We’re all pretty excited. They’re fun promises to keep.

Another promise I’ve made is to let my girls pick what ice cream I make every four weeks. My youngest asked for Pumpkin weeks ago, but I told her I wanted to hold off on that until Halloween.

This week I got to keep my promise.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
(about 2 quarts)
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup sugar
2 T flour
A few grains salt
2 eggs or 3 yolks (pasteurized, if possible, see note)
1 ½ cups cream
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  1. Blend milk with sugar, flour and salt, and heat to 180-190ºF stirring frequently until thick, cover for 10 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs and add ½ cup of mixture while beating, then add eggs to mixture.

HEALTH NOTE:     Since you’re dealing with eggs here, you need to take care when cooking the custard. Too much cooking and the custard gets lumpy, too little and you risk salmonella.  Another alternative is to use pasteurized eggs.

  1. Heat the mixture for one minute over medium, then cool with plastic wrap or wax paper pressed onto the top of the mixture to keep it from developing a skin. Cool for several hours or overnight.
  2. As the custard cools, cut a small pumpkin in half, scoop out the guts, then place each half face down on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for about 1 hour. After the hour is up, let the pumpkin cool slightly then scoop out pumpkin flesh (basically everything but the skin and stem) and place in a bowl to cool.
  3. Add the cream to the custard, stir in 1 cup of  the cooked pumpkin and puree the whole mixture until smooth using an immersion blender.
  4. Stir the pumpkin pie spice into the ice cream mixture then add everything to the ice cream freezer and freeze for 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Put the frozen ice cream into the freezer for a couple of hours to give it a chance to firm up.


When freezing ice cream, you need to use an ice cream freezer to ensure that a certain amount of air is mixed into the frozen cream. This gives it a lighter, less icy consistency. When freezing sorbet, you may also freeze it in a popsicle mold, a bowl or on a sheet pan. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally to limit the size of the ice particles. Larger chunks of ice make for granita, miniscule chunks make for a nice smooth sorbet (an ice cream freezer is ideal).

Photo Credit: “Jack O’Lanterns, 2009,” carved and photographed by the author. 

If you’re like me, you think pumpkins are about Jack O’Lanterns on Halloween and pie on Thanksgiving. I made pumpkin soup once and some nice custards too, but I haven’t gone much further than that. I do like the carving, though, as you can see in this week’s picture. This year the girls are going to dress as a water sprite and “recycle girl,” whoever that is. We’re nowhere near ready, but we’ll get there. We always do. Let me know what you’re going as this Halloween. Or leave a comment about ice cream. That would be okay too.

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