Pumpkin ice cream

Before you close the page in disgust, let me just say that this stuff is delicious. Seriously.


So what motivates a person to make ice cream from pumpkin? Our ex-pat friends scheduled Thanksgiving dinner for the last Thursday in November. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but in 2012, there were five Thursdays in the month, and so dinner was out by a week. Again, this normally wouldn't be a problem for anything apart from the host's pride - it is kind of embarrassing to get the date wrong - but the selected Thursday happened to fall on a 40 degree day. To those of you who prefer their temperature in Fahrenheit, that's 104 degrees. Or very hot.
I'm normally in charge of two things at Thanksgiving; the gravy and the pie. Clearly the gravy still needed to be made, but I decided to mix things up a bit with the pie. Voila! Pumpkin ice cream. Perfect for a hot Thanksgiving, and if you have to have something more pie-like, you can always make it into an ice cream sandwich.

Pumpkin ice cream

1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
2 cups mashed pumpkin

Method

Beat the sugar and eggs together until pale and fluffy. Meanwhile, bring the milk and cream to scalding point over low heat. Remove from heat, and add the egg mix. Mix well to make sure there are no eggy bits. Add the pumpkin, stirring to make a smooth custard. Return to heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. If the mixture boils, remove from heat immediately and stir until it is no longer curdled. Allow to cool, before chilling for at least two hours. Churn according to your ice cream maker's specifications, or if doing it by hand, allow it to freeze for an hour or two, then remove from the freezer and beat until smooth. Return to the freezer and allow to become solid again. Repeat until the ice cream is as fluffy as you want it. 

Oat biscuits

On Friday afternoon - the last time I checked - there was a full biscuit container in the pantry. Somehow between then and now, a plague of locusts descended on the box and ate the lot. It must have been locusts; there's no way three small boys could go through an entire biscuit box in approximately 24 hours.
This afternoon, we reached crisis situation, when the smallest one desperately needed a biscuit - "I'm not hungry for fruit!" - and there were none to be found. Lucky for all, I was able to provide biscuits within the hour.



Following is a foundation recipe. It's quite plain, so I added a packet of caramel chips. Too sweet for me, but the small one and the man of the house were both impressed. Next time I'll be adding dried fruit. Grab a glass of milk and see what you think.

Rolled oat biscuits

2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups rolled oats

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well to combine. Stir through the vanilla essence. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture. Stir through the oats and any added agreements (chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit).
Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Roll the biscuit mix into small balls. Place on the baking sheet and cook until golden brown - around 15 to 20 minutes. 
Makes 45.


Walnut tarts

Despite my best efforts, there's just no convincing some family members that fruit mince tarts are awesome. They acknowledge that the scent of fruit mince is truly delicious, but when push comes to shove, just can't get past the fact that its made from dried fruit. These tarts are for them.


So good you'll want to eat them all year round.

Walnut tarts

Pastry

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 egg yolks
2 tbs water

Filling

1/2 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method

Combine the flour sugar and butter. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and enough water tho bring the pastry together into a ball. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile combine the syrup, butter and sugar over low heat. Stir until the butter and sugar melt. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and stir well. 
Roll out the pastry and using a 6 cm round cutter, cut 24 discs. Line two 12 cup patty pan trays with the pastry. Bake at 180 Celsius for 10 - 15 minutes until just golden. 
Remove from the oven. Add walnuts to each tart and pour over caramel filling. Bake a further 25 - 30 minutes until set. Allow to cool completely in trays. 
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