You guys are going to flip your lids. I’m not kidding. This is the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever made, and it’s totally perfect for those of you who are, you know, not in Idaho where the weather is feeling fall-ish.
It all started when I had kind of a revelation a few weeks back. There was a business trip, I was tired, and I was craving a pumpkin spice latte…but it was 75 degrees outside. Luckily, apparently someone had anticipated this very problem, because there exists in this world a frozen blended pumpkin spice coffee situation. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you guys how fast I sucked one down.
Anyway, that and this wonderful brown sugar bourbon ice cream recipe from the New York Times inspired this vegan pumpkin caramel chai ice cream. Turns out, pumpkin and coconut milk go together incredibly well, as do coconut milk and chai and pumpkin and chai. The whole experience of eating this is incredibly harmonious, as the spices add warmth and bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin.
The minimal brown sugar is worth it for this treat, in my opinion. It’s just enough to add a velvety caramel note that brings together all of the other flavors. However, if you are very anti-refined sugar, you can just use maple syrup, though the flavors won’t be as complex.
Top this with some candied pecans, extra caramel sauce, or just enjoy alone out of the freezer as we’ve been doing. It’s a great way to bring a taste of fall into warmer climates.
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk, full fat
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- pinch black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat the brown sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the caramel turns reddish-brown.
- Add coconut milk and stir. Don’t panic when your caramel freezes up! It will melt as your coconut milk heats up. Continue to stir over medium-low heat until the coconut milk has totally come together (no lumps) and the caramel is totally incorporated.
- Remove from heat. Whisk in pumpkin puree, vanilla, and spices. Taste at this point and adjust spices as desired.
- Put saucepan in the fridge and cool for about two hours. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (though mine took about 30 minutes). Store in the freezer; take out of freezer about 10 mins before serving and allow to soften.