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Pumpkin pie ice cream with pecan praline

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Pumpkin pie ice cream with pecan praline
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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The praline with pecans adds crunch and a subtle nuttiness to the flavor. Making it isn’t a big deal either. Cook the sugar syrup until it’s mahogany-colored, and stir in the nuts. Just be careful not to scorch the sugar. Once it starts turning brown, it darkens very, very quickly, so pay attention. Then, while the mixture is still molten, pour it out onto a buttered sheet of parchment paper.

Rinse the pot out right away while it is still really hot, and any sugar syrup that remains will wash right out. If you wait a little too long, it’ll crystallize and stick like the devil. Not to worry. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. When the sugar gets hot, it’ll dissolve again and rinse away.

Once you have the praline, there’s nothing more to making the ice cream than whisking the puree and spices together and freezing it in your machine. When the mixture is almost frozen, fold in the broken up bits of praline.

1

Line a (16- by 12-inch) jellyroll pan with buttered parchment paper. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring (but if the liquid colors unevenly, swirl the pan gently from time to time to distribute the color), until the mixture turns a dark mahogany, about 7 to 8 minutes. The process will go very quickly in the last minute. Watch carefully and when done, immediately remove the pan from the heat.

2

Quickly add the nuts to the hot caramel, swirl to coat and pour the mixture onto the buttered parchment paper, using a rubber or silicon spatula to scrape the mixture from the pan and spread the nuts in as close to a single layer as you can. Set aside to cool. Immediately run the saucepan under hot water to clean. If the caramel has set, fill the pan with water and bring it to a boil to dissolve the caramel, and clean.

3

When the poured-out praline is hard -- it should look and feel like brown glass -- pull it off of the parchment and flip it over. Using a big spoon, a hammer, a wooden mallet, or some other pounding tool, smash it into half-inch chunks. Don’t crush it any finer; the smaller pieces will dissolve into the ice cream.

4

Whisk together the pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

5

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer’s instructions. When it’s almost frozen, add the praline pieces and continue freezing. Spoon the mixture into a container, seal tightly and freeze for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to ripen. Let soften 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.