Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream and Pumpkin Bread

Last week, I purchased four tins of evaporated milk figuring it would be a good thing to have on hand through the winter if we were snowed in. It was on sale, so it seemed a good idea. Today, I realised it was expired. Only by a few days, but still. This annoys me. The store obviously knew they were getting rid of expired merchandise, and frankly, I would expect that to be noted. I don't automatically associate an item going on sale with it being unsaleable. This is not the first time this has happened at Peony Park Hy-Vee. Cod on sale? Mushy, frozen, thawed, and re-frozen. Chocolate on sale? Chocolate inside was so decomposed it had literally collapsed. Expensive apples piled on the same table with the sale ones. After a while, it seemed like less a coincidence and more a deliberate deception. I'm not shopping there anymore. I've shopped there for years, but in the last six months or so, the store has gone seriously downhill. I live too far away to be schlepping back to return items.

I needed to use up a quantity of evaporated milk quickly, and ice cream sounded like the obvious solution. I had quite a bit of pumpkin on hand, so that was what I did. Unfortunately, after a couple batches of ice cream, I was left with six egg whites. Not enough for an angel food cake, but too many for meringues, I threw together a quick bread that also made use of some leftover pumpkin puree. In the end, I was able to put everything to use without waste, but I would have appreciated being able to plan for it. I had better things to do today than bake and make ice cream. OK, baking, and making ice cream are perfectly fine things to do any day of the year, but I had more pressing chores.

I also made a batch of grape nuts ice cream with the homemade grape nuts. Because. Look, I don't need an excuse to binge on homemade grape nuts. What are you, my mother?

For the ice cream:

1 cup pumpkin puree
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
Coarsely chopped butter cookies (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, egg yolks, and brown sugar until smooth. In a saucepan, scald the evaporated milk, cream, and spices. Whisk it slowly into the egg/sugar mixture in a thin stream (or temper it if you aren't skilled with this sort of thing) and then return it to the saucepan. Cook to 175 degrees F. Strain into a heatproof bowl and cool in an ice bath. Place in a metal tray and freeze, stirring with a fork every 30 minutes until firm. When it is almost too hard to mix, fold in the chopped butter cookies. Transfer to a freezer container to firm up.

For the pumpkin bread:

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon mixed spice (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soft shortening (I used half butter, half margarine
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 egg whites
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan (I use a large pullman loaf as it keeps the top from doing up too large and cracking deeply. It makes a long, flat-ish loaf) and flour it lightly. Set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together the shortening, milk, and pumpkin. Beat in the dry ingredients well (about 1 minute). Beat in the egg whites well (another minute or so). Fold in the raisins. Pour into pan and bake about 40 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack, then cool completely on rack. This cake will be better if stored before serving for 24 hours. I wrap it tightly in wax paper and then in cling film. It also toasts well once it begins to go stale. I've made this loaf in every flavour from cherry, to orange to chocolate with fantastic results. The evaporated milk was a first as I had it, but it is hardly noticeable. If I had to call something my "go-to recipe" for using up egg whites, this would be it.

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