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Carrot Cake Ice Cream

The search for the ideal carrot cake is over—make it into an ice cream and every bite will be perfect.

A carrot cake—even a great one—has many competing elements: strands of the namesake vegetable, then nuts, raisins, pineapple chunks, sometimes coconut, the occasional chocolate chip. And that’s not even taking the swath of cream cheese icing into account. It’s complicated to find your ideal cake—and in that cake, your ideal bite.

This ice cream quiets all that noise. With no dense, chock-full cake to fight against, the warm spices come to the foreground and the rum-soaked raisins and toasted walnuts can have presence. The cream cheese is incorporated into the base so that every bite has its tangy richness—no more competing with your loved ones for the most heavily frosted slice.

This is excerpted from Food52’s Ice Cream & Friends.

Carrots

Makes a generous quart (950ml)
  • 12 oz (340g) carrots
  • 3 T light brown sugar 
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 t peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • 1 t vanilla extract 
  • 1 t ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 t grated nutmeg 

Rum Raisins

  • 2 T dark rum
  • 1/3 C (50g) raisins

Candied Walnuts

  • 3/4 C (75g) walnuts
  • 1 T egg white
  • 1 T light brown sugar

Ice Cream

  • 1 1/4 C (300ml) heavy cream
  • 3/4 C (175ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 C (20g) skim milk powder
  • 1/2 C + 2 T(125g) granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 C (240ml) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (115g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 T dark rum 
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Coarsely chop the carrots. In a heavy saucepan, add all the ingredients for the carrots and 1⁄2 cup (120ml) water. Cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Add more water as needed.

  2. To make the raisins, bring a small pot with 1⁄2 cup (120ml) water and rum to a simmer over medium-low heat. Off the heat, add the raisins, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes. (The raisins can be refrigerated in their liquid for up to 3 days.) Drain the raisins, discarding the liquid.

  3. To make the walnuts, heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). On a baking sheet, toss together the walnuts, egg white, and brown sugar. Bake until candied, about 10 minutes (watch them). Let cool, then coarsely chop. (They can be stored in a zip-top plastic bag at room temp for up to 2 days.)

  4. To make the ice cream, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, milk powder, and 1⁄2 cup (100g) of the sugar in a pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then remove from the heat.

  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar for 30 seconds. Whisk the milk mixture into the yolks until incorporated.

  6. Pour the milk-yolk mixture back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the base thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  7. Add the carrots and their cooking liquid, mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, dark rum, and vanilla to the pot. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Let steep for 30 minutes, then pass it through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Chill the base completely in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight.

  8. Pour the chilled base into an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last 2 minutes of churning, add the raisins and walnuts.