Kabocha Vanilla Chai Ice Cream

August 24, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

As an Ohio girl, I love frequenting Jeni’s each time I’m in Columbus. Unfortunately, I’ve lived overseas for the past 7 years so these visits are infrequent (though I’ve been known to go twice in one day!). You can imagine my excitement when I heard Jeni had wrote a cookbook -- I promptly purchased the book. I’ve had fun creating her flavors at home and spreading Jeni’s ice cream love around Japan!

Even though it's hot hot hot in Japan, I'm looking forward to cooler weather and autumn foods. For me, that means pumpkin. I thought adding the warming flavors of vanilla and chai would be a nice mix. I hope you agree!

Recipe is adapted from Jeni's ice cream base and various techniques from her cookbook. —Courtney Pollock

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Courtney Pollock is a new Food52 user -- this is her first recipe!
WHAT: A delicately spiced ice cream with Japanese kabocha squash, perfect for fall.
HOW: The milk is infused with chai flavors to add extra oomph to Jeni's classic base, and roasted, pureed kabocha squash adds body.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Like a more delicate pumpkin pie, this ice cream is perfect for the changing seasons. —The Editors

  • Makes approximately 1 quart
  • Roasted Kabocha Squash & Chai Milk Base
  • 1 Kabocha squash
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 bags, Darjeeling tea
  • Ice Cream (based on Jeni's ice cream base)
  • 2 cups chai milk base
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1.5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup kabocha puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
In This Recipe
  1. Roasted Kabocha Squash & Chai Milk Base
  2. For Kabocha Squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half; remove seeds and membranes. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until soft. Let cool.
  3. Scoop the flesh into a food processor and puree until completely smooth. Measure out 1 cup of kabocha puree for the ice cream.
  4. For Chai Milk Base: Place next 5 ingredients (ginger through cinnamon stick) in a saucepan. Lightly crush with wooden spoon. Add vanilla bean (inside & bean) along with whole milk. Place over low heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and place in tea bags. Let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and strain milk to remove solids. Measure 2 cups of chai milk mixture for recipe.
  1. Ice Cream (based on Jeni's ice cream base)
  2. Mix 2 tablespoons of chai milk base with cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
  3. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Add kabocha puree and maple syrup. Combine until smooth; set aside.
  4. Combine remaining chai milk base, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan; bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  5. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  6. Slowly pour the hot cream into the kabocha squash mixture, whisking to combine.
  7. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in an ice bath. Place ice bath in the refrigerator and leave for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.
  8. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
  9. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press the sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
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