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Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Ice Cream

Summer is lingering, providing us with beautiful warm days, but as of today I can say that fall is finally in the air, bringing with it fall cravings {enter sweet potatoes and maple pecans}.  It’s the perfect equation for an autumn ice cream.  Although it’s worth saying that I’ve been making this ice cream for over a year now and it has been a family favorite in every season of the year.

At its base, this sweet potato ice cream is a custard which is then churned, making the ice cream extra rich and creamy.  Why sweet potato, you ask?  Simply because I love sweet potatoes.  They are often overshadowed by the pumpkin, but they have their own lightly sweet flavor.  They have a lot to offer in terms of nutrition, too.  This ice cream is lightly spiced with hints of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg which give this cool treat a warming and comforting quality.  The flavors are reminiscent of and in fact inspired by pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread but the more delicately-flavored sweet potato adds a natural sweetness to the ice cream.  Pecans caramelized in a maple-butter glaze round out the ice cream and add a richness in both flavor and texture.

Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Ice Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 quart
This ice cream is lightly spiced with hints of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg which give this cool treat a warming and comforting quality.
Maple Pecans
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 Tbsp maple syrup (*I use unfiltered Grade B maple syrup)
Sweet Potato Ice Cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy cream
Maple Butter Pecans
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Mix in the maple syrup and add the pecan pieces.
  3. Stirring constantly, cook the pecans for approximately 10 minutes or until the maple-butter glaze boils and thickens.
  4. Let the glazed pecan pieces cool completely.
Sweet Potato Ice Cream
  1. In a large saucepan, beat the eggs, milk and sugar until well blended.
  2. Cook the egg mixture over low heat for roughly 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. It should smoothly coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Whisk in the mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger powder.
  4. Let the mixture cool.
  5. Add the heavy cream and the vanilla.
  6. Stir until blended and refrigerate the mixture until it is completely chilled, for several hours or up to overnight.
  7. Stir in the maple pecans and then churn the ice cream.
  8. Following the instructions of your ice cream maker, pour the chilled mixture into your machine and stir it until the ice cream forms. It will typically be more like soft-serve when you first make it. If you want firmer ice cream, transfer it to a sealed container once it reaches the soft-serve consistency and let it freeze for several hours until it hardens.
  9. If you don't have an ice cream maker, pour the ice cream mixture into a glass baking dish and place it in the freezer.
  10. Stir it vigorously with a hand-held mixer or a whisk every 30-40 minutes to break up the ice chunks and keep it creamy.
  11. Once it reaches your desired consistency, transfer it to a sealed container and store it in the freezer.