Accidents aren’t always a bad thing.  Let me explain.

caramel pumpkin ice cream


I started by making a pumpkin caramel sauce to go ON TOP of vanilla bean ice cream and envisioned finishing it off with crumbled pie crust sprinkled on top.  Like a deconstructed pumpkin pie a la mode.   Awesome, right?!?!


pumpkin caramel sauce


But after I made the pumpkin caramel and realized I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream or the desire to make pie crust… I all of a sudden had this idea to use it IN ice cream, instead of ON ice cream.  So I set the caramel aside to cool, then made an unflavored  (not even sweet) custard base.  Can it even be called a custard since it wasn’t sweet?  I don’t know.  I mixed the ‘custard’ and the pumpkin caramel together, chilled it, churned it, and voila, the most ah-freaking-mazing ice cream, of my life!  Ok, that could be a stretch, but maybe not.  A very happy accident that turned out to be one of my new favorite ice cream flavors.


caramel pumpkin ice cream 4


The caramel pairs so well with the warm pumpkin pie spices.  I can’t even imagine making this WITHOUT making the caramel first, it just wouldn’t even compare.  The addition of the actual pumpkin is really just to be able to justify eating this for dinner to satisfy my vegetable serving. Ok fine, and also to be able to call it ‘pumpkin’ ice cream, otherwise it would just be caramel spice ice cream.  Which would be fine too.  In fact, that would be amazing.  I gotta get on that!

I plan on making many batches of this ice cream this fall.  Forget pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or whatever other way you traditionally like to use pumpkin, caramel pumpkin ice cream is where it’s at!


Caramel Pumpkin Ice Cream


    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • Caramel Pumpkin Ice Cream:
  • 1 batch pumpkin caramel
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream


To make the pumpkin caramel:

Heat the sugar in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat the sugar evenly, until it starts to melt. Then stop stirring and cook by swirling the skillet occasionally so the sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.

*Caution: The sugar will turn form dark amber to BURNT very quickly, so keep an eye on it!

Add heavy cream, milk and pumpkin pie spice to the sugar (it will spatter a bit) and cook, whisking until all of the caramel chunks have dissolved and it’s smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla and pumpkin.

Transfer the pumpkin caramel to a bowl (or jar) and cool to room temperature.

To make the caramel pumpkin ice cream:

In a medium saucepan, warm the heavy cream.

In a bowl whisk the egg yolks. Slowly stream in the warm heavy cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly so they don’t scramble.

Pour the yolk/cream mixture back into the pan and cook on medium/low until it starts to thicken (about 5-7 minutes).

Remove pot from heat, stir in pumpkin caramel. Transfer mixture to a bowl and chill completely.

Churn chilled custard in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze for a few hours to allow it to firm up a bit more.

*This ice cream is scoopable even when completely frozen, sort of like the consistency of store-bought ice cream.