Pie is undoubtedly the classic American Thanksgiving dessert, but this post is about what goes on top of the pie.
When it comes to pie a la mode, there’s no argument that the traditional accompaniment is vanilla ice cream. Not chocolate or strawberry or butter pecan or coffee… or any other novelty ice cream flavor.
The question that begs to be asked is this: why the heck not?
I suppose the answer is simply that vanilla is a rather unassuming flavor, which is to say it does not compete with the flavors of whatever type of pie it is served with. Sure, you wouldn’t want to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream with apple pie; but there are certainly ice cream flavors that pair well with classic Thanksgiving pies.
Enter Spiced Sweet Potato Ice Cream, the perfect crown for many seasonal pies: pumpkin, pecan, apple, and (obviously) sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are roasted until extremely soft and aromatic before being pureed into oblivion and mixed with creamy half-and-half, robust brown sugar & maple syrup, and a generous amount of warm spices.
The velvety smooth mixture is churned in an ice cream machine until it reaches a light and creamy soft-serve consistency, at which point it can either be eaten immediately or frozen until hardened.
This luscious orange-hued ice cream is rich without being too heavy, perfectly sweet, and beautifully spiced.
It’s delectable just as it is, but would be even better served atop a warm piece of pie as part of a Thanksgiving dessert spread.
Spiced Sweet Potato Ice Cream
inspired by Cherry Tea Cakes
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, preferably organic, baked until super soft (about 1 hour at 400 degrees F) then peeled, pureed until very smooth (yield should be between 2 1/4 cups and 2 1/2 cups of puree), and chilled in the refrigerator until cold (I recommend doing this one day in advance so that the sweet potato puree is thoroughly chilled)
- 2 cups half-and-half (1 pint), preferably organic
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used golden, but light or dark would work fine)
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- In a large bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and brown sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk in the chilled sweet potato puree (as mentioned above, this should be about 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups), maple syrup, and spices.
- Chill mixture in the refrigerator until cold.
- Churn mixture according to ice cream manufacturer’s instructions.
- Serve immediately as soft serve, or transfer to an air-tight container and freeze until “ripened” (hardened).