Jeni’s Spinalong #5 – November Feels

Our November spinalong was a little bit different from the rest of this series in that we had no rules or themes to follow – Just all of our November feels all wrapped up (or should I say, “churned up”?) into one delicious ice cream.


So, for November, with thoughts of fall and Thanksgiving and #PSL all over the place… I went to Pumpkin’s sweet sister… or maybe more like a cousin? Or like a distant ancestor… I mean, they’re both plants so they must be related in some way, right? Anyway, I seem to have gotten off track somewhere…

What I chose is orange inside, like a pumpkin. And sweet, like a pumpkin. And plentiful during fall, also like a pumpkin. But it is not a pumpkin.

Can you guess what it is?

jenis sweet potato ice cream 1

Sweet potato!

Even though Mr. Eats curled his nose at the idea of me “ruining” perfectly good ice cream by putting sweet potatoes inside of it, I forged ahead anyway. I can’t think of a better way to use sweet potatoes than to put them into this amazing ice cream.

Shannon, over at A Periodic Table, stuffed all her feels into Blackstrap Praline Ice Cream with Black Walnut Praline and Singed Marshmallows. So, even though we had no rules, because we are kindred spirits we both made barely-altered recipes from the “Autumn” section of Jeni’s first book. At least we didn’t plan the same exact ice cream, which almost happened with September 😉 haha! If you paired my ice cream with some toasted nuts and Shannon’s praline sauce you would end up your very own sweet potato casserole sundae – Think of how impressed your Thanksgiving guests would be!

Unlike the other Jeni’s recipes I have made for the blog, I made this one with very little tampering. I followed the recipe pretty much 100% with the exception of one thing: I roasted the sweet potatoes real good. I baked the sweet potatoes for over an hour in the oven, until they were oozing out their sugary juices, and allowed them to cool before putting them in a cream-filled hot tub to simmer away.

I did attempt (and fail) to make Jeni’s Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, but I’m pretty sure that was a user error. Or possibly a thermometer calibration error (where one said 230F, the other said 250F) so I will have to try those again on another day. For this, store-bought made a fine stand-in.

The result is an amazingly smooth and creamy sweet potato ice cream filled with torched marshmallows and one bite will make your knees buckle.

jenis sweet potato ice cream 2

Jeni's Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Torched Marshmallows


  • 2 sweet potatoes, roasted and scooped out of the skins (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, toasted


    Bake the potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Prick potatoes with a knife and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until they start to ooze a bit of caramelized goodness.
  4. Remove from oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle (may be done one day in advance).
  5. Make the ice cream base
  6. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl; set aside.
  7. Place softened cream cheese and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  8. Peel potatoes from skins and cut into cubes (if they are too soft, just scoop them into a bowl). You should have about 1 1/2 cups total.
  9. Combine sweet potatoes and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  10. Reduce heat to low and simmer, mashing up the potatoes, until they are heated through, about 5 minutes.
  11. Puree the potatoes with an immersion blender (or puree in batches in a regular blender).
  12. Return puree to the pan and add the heavy cream, sugars, and molasses.
  13. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Be careful because it WILL splatter. A lot. (You can cover the top of the pan with a parchment paper circle with a hole in the middle to cut down on splatter).
  14. Pour about 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until combined. Pour remaining cream mixture into the bowl and whisk in the cinnamon until the mixture is fairly homogeneous.
  15. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and immerse in an ice bath for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you can dry off the bag and place it in your fridge until you are ready to spin the ice cream. (This can be done 1 day in advance).
  16. Torch your marshmallows
  17. Using a kitchen torch, line a baking sheet with parchment and spread about 1 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows on it. Carefully toast the marshmallows until golden and slightly blackened. Set aside.
  18. Spin the ice cream
  19. Spin ice cream according to your ice cream machine's directions.
  20. Pour ice cream into a storage container, layering marshmallows in between ice cream layers and saving some marshmallows to sprinkle on top.
  21. Cover the top with a sheet of parchment, then seal the container and place it in your freezer for at least four hours, or until firm.


* Pro Tip: If you end up only having regular-sized marshmallows, you can cut them into smaller ones by dusting a cutting board with powdered sugar and cutting them on the bed of powdered sugar. It took me a while to figure this out and I was super excited once I did.

[ Recipes adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Desserts ]

the creamiest pumpkin pie in the world

Confession time.

I don’t own a pie pan.  Not a single one.  I’ve contemplated buying one on many occasions, but then I always get hung up.  Do I want glass?  Seems like the right choice, it would give me a window to the pie crust to make sure it browns correctly.  But ceramic is so much prettier, but usually significantly more expensive.  Which leads us to metal, which is an affordable option, and a great heat conductor, but certainly not the prettiest option.  And if it’s not going to look pretty, why do I need to buy a new one anyway?

Round and round I go in my head until I give up and end up in the baking aisle at the grocery store buying another foil pie tin.

Embarrassing.  Right?  A baker without pie plates.  I should be ashamed.

But I’m not.

Luckily I don’t make pies often, I even found a completely pie-free pumpkiny dessert to bring along to Thanksgiving, ensuring I could go an entire year without touching a pie plate if I so chose.  “Oh, did you say pie? I could have sworn you said to bring pumpkin cake!”

So, after years and years of being pumpkin pie-free, I had to give in.  It is, after all, BF’s favorite pie.  It seemed only right..

This pie is a far cry from the one you get from that can of “pumpkin pie filling” that you pick up at the store.  With a sweet, pumpkiny custard nestled in a tender, flaky crust.  Created and perfected by the geniuses over at Cooks Illustrated, this recipe has a “secret” ingredient (sweet potatoes) that somehow (I can only assume with magic) gives a pie with a more complex, even more pumpkiny flavor.

I was actually not even going to make this pie.  I was going to make a completely different pie, but BFF demanded recommended that I make this one.  Specifically.

So, prepare yourself for the smoothest, creamiest pumpkin pie your tastebuds have ever had the pleasure of encountering.  It’s like a creamy, Thanksgiving hug for your mouth… and your tummy.

Despite being “perfected” in the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchens, I provided a few modifications.  First, I would recommend a medium-mesh sieve, as I think my “fine-mesh” was a bit too fine (granted it’s “double mesh”), causing my to arm cramp up while I desperately tried to press the mixture through.

Also, I assume due to my tiny foil pie plate, only half of the filling fit into the pie crust, which means that TECHNICALLY you could get two pumpkin pies out of this recipe, or you could use a deep dish pie plate for a nice custardy pumpkin pie.  I took a “two is better than one” stance on the issue and decided it meant I had one pie for me and one pie for the family (that wasn’t already cut into pieces for photographs and taste tested for quality assurance).  Lucky them, right?  :)

Oh, and a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream never hurt anyone.  Not anyone that I’ve ever met at least…

Cook’s Illustrated Pumpkin Pie  Cook’s Illustrated, December 2008

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • Your favorite pie crust (home-made or store-bought, I won’t tell)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (I could only find sweet potatoes, I know technically they’re different)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

While oven is preheating, roll pie dough to 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick and press into pie plate, crimping the edge when finished.  Refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm.

Now you are going to “blind bake” your pie crust.  To do this, you will want to prick holes in the bottom with a fork, then line the inside of the crust with foil.  Fill the foil with pie weights of your choice (I used coins, because I don’t own real pie weights.  That would just be silly since I don’t even own a pie plate!  If you feel silly filling your pie with pennies, you can use pie weights or uncooked beans or rice).  Bake crust on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights, rotate plate and bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.  Remove plate and baking sheet from oven.

While pie shell is baking, whisk half and half, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes.  Continue to simmer, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.  If you’re not satisfied with your mashing abilities (as I was not) feel free to puree your pumpkin mixture with a blender stick.  I don’t care if it’s cheating, I still couldn’t smoosh it through my stupid sieve, so good luck if you’re relying on your “mashing” abilities.

I know this recipe has been “perfected”, but I don’t ever stir anything with raw eggs directly into something hot.  So I first whisked a cup or so of the heated pumpkin into the egg/cream mixture, and then poured all of that back into the pumpkin pan and whisked until fully incorporated.  Strain mixture through fine(OR MEDIUM)-mesh strainer set over a large bowl, using the back of a ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer.

Re-whisk mixture and transfer to your warm pre-baked pie shell.  Return pie plate (now filled with custard) still on the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue baking until edges are set 20 to 35 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees.  Transfer pie to wire rack and cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.  The pie will finish cooking with resident heat, so be sure to cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.  Once cooled, you can transfer it to the refrigerator.

NOTE:  I would recommend a medium-mesh sieve, as I think my “fine-mesh” was a bit too fine, and my arm cramped up trying to press the mixture through.  Also, I assume due to my tiny foil pie plate, only half of the filling fit into the pie crust, which means that TECHNICALLY you could get two pumpkin pies out of this recipe, or you could use a deep dish pie plate for a nice custardy pumpkin pie. 

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Whip cream with cold bowl and cold beaters until it gets bubbly. Add powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and continue beating to desired consistency, voila.  (If you want to whip your cream even faster, make it with an immersion blender.  You’ll never go back to whisks again)

[ Pie recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen whose cookbook recently debuted ]