Well, I held out as long as I could against the march of food blog posts toward complete Pumpkin Spice saturation. By my calculations, we are on a trajectory to arrive at “Peak Pumpkin Spice” sometime shortly before Thanksgiving. I too feel the pull of fall, but I’ve been reluctant to hop on the pumpkin dessert bandwagon. I don’t feel like summer is finished with us just yet. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that I live in Southern Arizona and it is still in the mid 100’s here. I’ll still be in shorts and flip flops while we are all eating turkey in late November. It’s a hard life.
With that in mind, I set out to create a pumpkin spice treat that was a child of two worlds. One foot firmly in summer, the other shuffling towards fall.
In the wake of my Dark Chocolate Fudgsicle post, even though they were delicious and I was delighted with how they turned out, my thoughts were mainly centered on what I had discovered in the course of the recipe’s creation. I was already an avid fan of the use of xanthan gum in the creation of frozen goodies as I did in my Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. In this case, the xanthan gum is essentially an adjunct in texture creation, which is also partially carried by the conventional ice cream churning process.
What made the fudgsicle recipe unique is that the smooth, creamy texture came without any sort of churning process whatsoever. That greatly simplifies the recipe and shortens the path to a finished “ice cream bar” tremendously.
This opens up a lot of possibilities. It means that theoretically, any recipe where you can keep the fat percentage high enough and infuse flavor without adding lots of water will work. In choosing to make something with pumpkin, I picked something that would immediately push the envelope. Pumpkin brings along substantial water, requiring a switch to coconut cream from coconut milk to make sure we have adequate fat to offset the water in the pumpkin.
I also played it safe by putting these in the freezer section of my “garage fridge” that doesn’t get quite as cold as my main kitchen one. Low carb ice creams and frozen treats are especially sensitive to temperature and the swing of a few degrees can turn something soft and creamy to totally rock hard. The water content of these is high enough that I had some concerns the Pumpkin Pie Blender Pops would fall prey to that, so I just wanted them “frozen enough” and didn’t bury them at the bottom of my main freezer like I did with the fudgsicles.
Incidentially, this is one of the tricks of trendy ice cream and gelato parlors that allows them to achieve their signature creamy texture. Their display freezers are simply not as cold as your home fridge. You can achieve a similar effect by using your fridge to partially thaw ice cream for an hour before you try scooping it. I actually have some neat popsicle forms I got at IKEA that can be removed from their holster. This lets me thaw one at a time in the fridge without thawing and refreezing the rest. That feature is also pretty handy if you want to run them under hot water briefly to free the popsicle from its form.
Despite my reservations about freeze temperature, this recipe is dead easy even compared to to its fudgsicle predecessor. There is no pre-chilling the mix, churning, and then trying to form the semi-soft ice cream into molds. You pour everything into a blender, whir it up, and then pour the delicious results into the molds. I wear the label of “lazy cook” as a badge of honor, and my Pumpkin Pie Blender Pops appeal to those tendencies in a major way.
So, think of these as a piece of passive-agressive resistance to the coming fall. I’m coming, but these Pumpkin Pie Blender Pops and I are not coming without a fight. Vive la résistance?