Carrot Cake Ice Cream (#21)

2 08 2012

The last few weeks have been all about light and fresh summer fruit flavours, so a warm and cozy flavour like carrot cake might seem a little bit out of place in August.  But this flavour is in honour of my co-worker Greg, who is getting married this weekend!  When I learned a few months ago that he and his fiancee were choosing carrot cake as one of their wedding cake flavours, I pre-scheduled Carrot Cake Ice Cream for Week #21.  It’s an unusual ice cream flavour, but with carrots as cute as these at the local markets, who can’t resist picking up a couple of bunches and creating some carrot cake ice cream awesomeness with them?!

bunches of fresh carrots

Carrots galore!

Similar to my Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream recipe, the challenge here was to mimic the taste of carrot cake without churning actual bits of cake into a basic vanilla ice cream.  The recipe needed to balance the myriad of flavours of carrot cake — sweet carrots and raisins, a touch of cinnamon, subtle notes of vanilla, toasty pecans, and tangy cream cheese frosting.  After some tweaking, I arrived at the recipe below.  Out of season or not, it’s delicious.

The Official Taster is taking a break from tasting this week.  Though he enjoyed Week #19′s Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, he has declared he does not want to sample any more ice creams containing cream cheese  (???!!!)  So, this week’s Guest Taster is the groom-to-be himself.  Congratulations Greg, and all the best to you & Darlana!

Carrot Cake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

6 to 10 carrots (depending on size; you’ll need enough to yield 1.5 cups of cooked carrot puree)
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2.5 cups half-and-half cream
125 g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

  1. Peel and dice the carrots and place into a saucepan.  Add enough water to just cover the carrots.  Add a pinch of sugar.  Bring to a boil and let simmer until the carrots are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Strain the carrots, reserving the cooking water.  Puree the carrots in in a blender with two or three tablespoons of the cooking water until smooth, scraping the sides down as necessary.  Measure out 1.5 cups of carrot puree.  Let cool.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  4. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  5. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly to room temperature.
  6. Place the carrot puree and the cream cheese in the blender.  Add one third of the custard and blend at medium-low speed to combine.  Scrape down the sides.
  7. Add the remaining custard and give everything a good whirl, until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Add the raisins to the mixture and chill overnight in the fridge to allow the raisins to plump up and the flavours to mellow.
  9. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  10. In the final stages of churning, add the toasted pecans.
carrot cake ice cream

Greg, this week’s Guest Taster, says: “Two thumbs up!”

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