Recipe: Pumpkin & chestnut honey ice-cream

This incredible recipe for pumpkin & chestnut ice-cream was inspired by a classic French dessert - pumpkin mousse, found in by Jean & Pierre Troisgros's 1970's book Nouvelle Cuisine. The chestnut honey brings more complexity of flavour, plus importantly, honey is an inverted sugar, which means it helps prevent crystals forming in ice-cream which affect its texture.

Each component of the recipe counts - the ice-cream holds deep rich malty flavours at the back of your mouth. The wafer adds additional sweetness and texture.

If you can get hold of one, try to find a 'culinary' pumpkin, rather than one sold for carving. Carving pumpkins tend to be excessively watery with less flavour. Otherwise, butternut squash, or even sweet potato are good alternatives.


Ingredients Serves: 6

  • 600g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 2cm cubes (from roughly 1kg whole pumpkin)
  • 50g butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 25g sugar
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche

For the ice-cream custard


For the pumpkin seed wafer (adapted from Essence by David Everitt Matthias)

  • 25g golden syrup
  • 75g demerara sugar
  • 25g milk
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 25g pumpkin seeds, ground finely (prepare a little extra to garnish the dessert)
  • 30g pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped

To serve


Day before

  1. Start by making the pumpkin base. Place the pumpkin cubes into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain.
  2. Warm the butter in a large-bottomed pan over a very low heat, and add the drained pumpkin and mash roughly to make a thick puree. Add the salt and nutmeg. Keep over the low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often to make sure it doesn't burn. This helps to dry out the pumpkin so the extra moisture doesn't dilute the ice-cream.
  3. Whilst the pumpkin dries slowly, move on to the custard. Heat the milk and double cream together in a saucepan over a medium heat until they come to the boil. Turn off the heat.
  4. Place the eggs, honey and vanilla paste in a large bowl, and whisk for 5 minutes, until thick, pale and creamy. With the whisk still running slowly pour over the hot milk and cream mixture. Pour back into the saucepan, and warm over a very low heat. Gently whisk by hand as the mixture thickens. It is best to check the temperature using a thermometer - stop when the mixture reaches 80°C. Over this, and the eggs might curdle. Set aside.
  5. When the pumpkin base is ready, remove from the heat, and press through a very fine sieve or chinois. This might feel like hard work, but it's worth it to make sure the ice-cream is super smooth. Stir in the sugar and creme fraiche.
  6. Slowly pour the custard over the pumpkin mixture and gently whisk to mix the two. Leave to cool. Then cover with cling film, pressing the cling film against the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight.

On the day of serving

  1. Churn the ice-cream in an ice-cream maker, and put in the freezer
  2. To make the wafer, heat your oven to 180C, and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Pour the golden syrup and demerara sugar together into a small pan. Heat gently until the sugar crystals melt and start to bubble. Add the milk, and stir rapidly. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir until melted, and stir in both the ground and chopped pumpkin seeds. Spread out over two baking sheets using a spatula. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool.
  3. Place the ice-cream in the fridge 20 minutes before eating. To serve, portion the ice-cream using a scoop, or slice with a hot knife. Sprinkle over ground pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of nut oil. Break off a piece of wafer to garnish.

1 comment

  • Yum! Considering this as a choice accompaniment or adaptation for my classic pumpkin pie. Nutmeg and vanilla pods and a thicker custard with pureed pumpkin could set well in the pastry case. If not for guests then I’m sure hubby and I will enjoy it as a late night snack after the little ones are asleep.

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