Make it Naked

Bourbon Pumpkin Praline Ice Cream

I’ll save the love story for a romance novel but three years ago, me and this guy high-fived in a chapel in Charlottesville and followed that up with one hell of a party, if I do say so myself.

Here, let’s reminisce…

Thanks Randi!

Today is one of those days that I wished I lived in Charlottesville. The leaves are changing, the windows are open, the sun is shining, warm enough to sit outside and cool enough to enjoy a class of CabSav on the porch at Veritas. Despite the fact that our AC has been on for the past week, I think fall is finally in full swing people and for those of you that know me, could I ask for a better anniversary?

Well, yes, I could. Three words. Pumpkin Ice Cream. You see, Jon and I share an obsession with ice cream, so it only made sense that our wedding “cake” was made of pumpkin ice cream from Chaps. Was it pretty? No. Amazing? Yes.

In our house, ice cream trumps fondant-covered, curd-filled confection any day. So, decision made. I’m making pumpkin ice cream. But how am I supposed to compete with Chaps? It says right there on their webpage “Family recipes used for over 75 years.” How do I beat that? I wanted to think about it over a cup of coffee. And then a funny thing happened…I went for coffee, but came back with this.

Bourbon folks. How do you outdo a 75 year family tradition? Add booze.

I created this recipe just for today. I didn’t want to use eggs because, quite frankly, I want them for breakfast tomorrow. And the praline, well, that’s just another means to add more bourbon. I was impressed with the creaminess of this ice cream without egg yolks, and the praline crunch is a perfect contrast. I could get all poetic and tell you it’s a bowl full of wonderful memories and happiness. I’ll spare you. But it is that good. I think I just heard the ice cream maker say “thank you.”

For the praline:

Don’t be scared. It’s super easy.

1 cup sugar

1 cup pecan pieces (toasted)

3 tablespoons bourbon

Kosher salt

Toast your pecans in the oven for a few minutes. Take them out and toss them in a bowl with a pinch of kosher salt and the bourbon. Let them sit there while you make the caramel.

In a heavy sauce pot (don’t use non-stick) over medium heat add 1 cup of white sugar. Now you just stand there and watch it. Give it a stir occasionally but not too often. You’ll notice the sides start to melt. When this happens take a silicon spatula and scrape the sides to middle. Do this a few times while all the sugar melts down to a caramel. It will burn quickly, so don’t leave it. When all the sugar is almost melted turn the heat to very low and add the pecan mixture slowly. Be careful to watch for splattering. This is hot! Stir to coat the nuts.

Allow the praline to cool and harden on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Be sure it’s completely cooled before adding it to the ice cream (I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes).

For the ice cream:

2 cups of heavy cream

½ cup of buttermilk

2 Tablespoons of bourbon

1/3 cup of white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ginger

Pinch of kosher salt

A few shakes of nutmeg (about 1/8 of a teaspoon)

In a large bowl combine the cream, buttermilk, bourbon and sugars. Stir until dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat with a whisk to combine. Add the mixture to an ice cream maker, and let it churn for about 30 minutes.

While it’s churning, take out the praline and break it up. I chopped mine with a knife, but putting it in a freezer bag and beating it with a rolling pin might have been neater and more therapeutic. Once the ice cream is done churning, transfer it to a bowl and fold in the praline pieces. Put the bowl in the freezer and let the ice cream harden for about an hour…if you can wait that long.

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Posted on October 13, 2010

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