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Pumpkin Gelato with Salted Caramel Swirl

Craving a taste of autumn in the summer? Pumpkin gelato with salted caramel tastes like frozen pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Gelato with Salted Caramel by @TheRedheadBaker for #IceCreamWeek

Welcome to Day 3 of Ice Cream Week 2014! This year the event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We have teamed up with 25 amazing bloggers to treat you to tons of amazing ice cream recipes. Ice Cream Week is shaping up to be the best week ever!

So, a few days ago, I posted a poll on my Facebook page, asking when I should start posting pumpkin recipes: now, on September 1st, or September 23rd (the first day of autumn). More than half of the responders voted for now, but quite a few said not until autumn. I thought this recipe was a nice compromise — a summer dessert (ice cream) with the flavors of autumn.

What is gelato?

I'm sure you know that gelato looks, well, exactly like ice cream. Same thick, creamy texture. So, how are they different? According to Serious Eats, the three main differences are fat (ice cream is mostly heavy cream and egg yolks while gelato uses mostly milk and fewer, or no, egg yolks); commercially-made ice cream has more air churned into the ice cream than gelato (this is achieved through the speed at which the mixture is churned); and finally, gelato is served at a warmer temperature than ice cream. Since gelato has less fat and less air, it turns into a frozen solid brick.

Pumpkin Gelato with Salted Caramel by @TheRedheadBaker for #IceCreamWeek

Adding the brandy to the gelato is completely optional. Such a tiny amount doesn't alter the flavor; it's main purpose is to prevent the gelato from freezing solid. The resulting gelato really tastes like frozen pumpkin pie.

The warm salted caramel turns chewy when it hits the frozen gelato. I'm a big fan of summer, but after eating this gelato, I'm starting to look forward to fall!

Pumpkin Gelato with Salted Caramel by @TheRedheadBaker for #IceCreamWeek

Pumpkin Gelato with Salted Caramel Swirl


For the gelato

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp brandy or dark rum

For the salted caramel

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • ½ tsp good quality flaked sea salt


  1. Place the milk and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes (do not boil), then remove from the heat.
  2. While the milk/sugar mixture is off the heat, vigorously whisk the egg yolks, salt and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color. Gradually temper the milk into the egg yolks, then pour the whole thing back into the saucepan.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it reaches 175 degrees, and the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the pumpkin and spices, and whisk vigorously until fully blended.
  5. Place the heavy cream in a metal or glass bowl set in an ice water bath. Pour the custard mixture into the heavy cream, add the vanilla and brandy or rum (if using), and whisk until fully combined.
  6. Let sit until the mixture cools, then remove the bowl with the custard from the ice bath, cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  7. Make the caramel: Have a heat-proof glass measuring cup near the stovetop. Place the sugar in the bottom of a heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Stir with a rubber spatula as the sugar melts.
  8. As soon as the sugar is completely melted, carefully add the cubes of butter (the mixture will bubble as you add the butter) and stir until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Slowly add the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Cook at a boil for about a minute, then pour into the measuring cup. Stir in flaked sea salt.
  9. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  10. Pour the pumpkin gelato base into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturers' directions. While churning, re-warm the salted caramel in the microwave until it is drizzling consistency, but not scalding hot.
  11. During the last minute of churning, slowly drizzle the salted caramel into the gelato.*
  12. Scrape the churned gelato into your preferred freezer storage container.
  13. *ALTERNATIVELY: Scrape half of the churned gelato into your preferred freezer storage container. Drizzle salted caramel over the gelato. Top with the remaining gelato. Swirls will form when gelato is scooped.

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Adapted from Saving Room for Dessert and Sally's Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Gelato with Salted Caramel by @TheRedheadBaker for #IceCreamWeek

Be sure to swing by all of today's Ice Cream Week Participants:

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated monetarily or with any product(s) for participating in this blogging event. The #IceCreamWeek Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. ONE winner will receive ALL the prizes listed. Giveaway ends at midnight on August 31st. See official giveaway rules here.

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