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When it comes to holiday food, I like to stick pretty close to tradition. Brisket? Grandma style. Latkes? Plain and simple. But dessert is where I get to play. By the dessert course your guests are tired and malleable, and it's the only time of the night I can convince the family that bourbon in pie is a good idea.
Speaking of pie, let's talk about pumpkin pie. I know there are many of you who like—nay, love—pumpkin pie. To you I say god bless and good luck, may you enjoy your pumpkin pie forevermore.
I like pumpkin pie, but I find myself eating it more out of a sense of holiday obligation than genuine interest. The starchy creaminess in crust-bound custard just doesn't do it for me the way, say, a lemon meringue does. But if you took that pie custard, churned it in an ice cream machine, and stirred in crushed gingersnaps and candied ginger? Now we're talking. Meet pumpkin pie ice cream, my—and I hope soon to be your—solution to the holiday baking rut.
It's a straightforward custard as ice creams go: pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and tastes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. But it receives some definite personality from star anise and whiskey: rye for something spicy, bourbon for something more vanilla, or hey why not Scotch because it's your ice cream and you can do what you want. The amounts in the recipe are small, but their impact isn't.