Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream
We got an idea in our craw late one night last year and went on a fruitless hunt for sweet potato pie in central Pennsylvania. The solution was to find a good recipe for the pie. After scouring the Internet, we ended up returning to our favorite baking cookbook, Baking Illustrated. Honestly, this cookbook has almost never led us astray.What we like most is the detail they use to describe the development of each recipe is so informative — explanations like “too many eggs results in this outcome” or “we replaced some of the flour with rice flour because” make it so you don’t have to make all the same mistakes they did.
Anyway, the sweet potato pie recipe makes a really delicious pie. Just enough of every flavor and — as it mentions in the intro to the recipe — there is no mistaking this for a pumpkin pie.
We decided to make an ice cream that captured the flavor of this tasty pie and it turned out to be quite simple. All you do is cook the pie filling without the crust, then after it is cooled, you mush up 2 cups of the “crustless pie” and add it to 2-3 cups of ice cream custard base. Then right at the end of the ice cream machine’s freezing cycle, you stir in 1/2 to 1 cups of diced pieces of the crustless pie.
That being said, if you have a sweet potato pie recipe you like, this ice cream should work well for you. Actually, this just occurred to me now — this recipe should make an excellent pumpkin (pie) ice cream. It would also be good with chunks of pie crust, but those should be mixed in right at the end of the machine’s freezing cycle.
I should note that we did make a sweet potato ice cream last year and it was ok, but the texture and flavor of this sweet potato pie ice cream is much better.
Ingredients – Crustless Sweet Potato Pie
(This is a modified version of a recipe from Baking Illustrated and you can also get it by subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated Online, one of the few online subscriptions I have that I find to be really worthwhile.)
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 small to medium)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2-3 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Directions – Crustless Sweet Potato Pie
1. Prick sweet potatoes several times with fork and place on double layer of paper towels in microwave. Cook at full power for 5 minutes; turn each potato over and continue to cook at full power until tender, but not mushy, about 5-8 minutes longer. Cool 10 minutes. Halve each potato crosswise; insert small spoon between skin and flesh, and scoop flesh into medium bowl; discard skin. (If potatoes are too hot to handle comfortably, fold double layer of paper towels into quarters and use to hold potato half). Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes; you should have about 2 cups. While potatoes are still hot, add butter and mash with fork or wooden spoon; small lumps of potato should remain.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl; stir in bourbon, molasses (if using), and vanilla, then whisk in milk. Gradually add egg mixture to sweet potatoes, whisking gently to combine.
4. Sprinkle bottom of greased 8 to 12-inch casserole dish or pie plate evenly with brown sugar. Pour sweet potato mixture into pie shell over brown sugar layer. Bake until filling is set around edges but center jiggles slightly when shaken, about 30-45 minutes (cooking time will depend on size of cooking dish). Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate the pie.
Ingredients – Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups mushed crustless sweet potato pie (see recipe above)
1 to 1.5 cups diced crustless sweet potato pie
Directions – Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream:
Heat 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk. Heat until steaming and remove from heat.
In a bowl, beat the 3 egg yolks, 1/8 cup brown sugar, and the salt.
Slowly add the hot cream and milk mixture to the egg mixture, taking care not to cook the eggs. Return milk/egg custard mixture to sauce pan and heat until thickened and steaming. Strain into a spouted bowl and cool slightly.
When slightly cooled, add remaining 1 cup cream and the vanilla, then stir. Place plastic wrap on surface to prevent skin forming and place in refrigerator overnight or until cold.
Before churning ice cream, remove the pie from the fridge and loosely mush up 2 cups of it. Cut off another 1 to 1.5 cups worth of pie and dice into 1/2-inch chunks. If the pie has a nice browned rim, you may want to use these parts for the diced pieces to impart a bit of extra flavor.
Remove the cold ice cream mixture from the fridge and vigorously stir in the 2 cups of mushed pie. Churn according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. When the ice cream is done freezing in the machine, gently stir in the diced pieces of pie, trying not to mush them too much. Spoon or pour finished ice cream into your freezing container(s).
Ice cream machine used: Lello Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker
When we made this the first time, we were afraid that the frozen chunks of pie would become hard as rocks. What actually happens is that the pieces of pie remain the same texture as the ice cream itself, probably because the pie has its own loose, airy texture.
Positive reactions all around.
Matt: Was surprised to find that this might be his favorite ice cream he and Holly have ever made. Outstanding flavor and texture.
NOTE: We would guess that you should eat this ice cream within a week or two. The pie chunks might end up getting weird.
Possible changes for next time:
-as mentioned above, pie crust should be good mixed in at the end
-toasted or very lightly candied walnuts would be good (but we did a small test and don’t think pecans would work out as well)
-would be good made into little pie crusts like the Key Lime Pie Ice Cream — and then we would have Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream Pie