We’ve been into sweet potatoes lately. I grew them successfully for the first time this year, and while the yield could have been better, I was excited just to get a few nice big ones, up here in zone 5-6. But more on that another time. Right now I want to share one of my new favorite ice cream recipes. We’ve found that sweet potatoes as a vegetable side dish are unbelievably yummy when pureed with a little cream and a lot of fresh ginger. Mmmmm! So, I thought, to make it a dessert, all it needs is more cream and some sugar. Voila! Sweet Potato Ginger Ice Cream is delightful. It’s perfect for the harvest season, but feel free to enjoy it any time.
Sweet potatoes are native to the tropical regions of the Americas, and were an important food to native peoples and to early homesteaders. They are a good source of calcium, potassium, beta carotene, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. It’s actually ranked by the Center for Science in the Public Interest as one of the foods with highest nutritional value. You can read more about sweet potatoes here and here.
Ice cream makers
There are many recipes on the web for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. Those are fine, but if you will be making a lot of ice cream (we’ve been making all our own for years), an ice cream maker is a worthy investment. They really do make a smoother ice cream. I’ve been quite happy with my basic 1.5 quart Cuisinart, but tempted to try the new fangled machines, which allow you to make batch after batch without having to refreeze the canister, or which allow you to adjust the temperature to make either soft serve or scoopable ice cream. If you have one of those, I’d love to hear what you think of it!
Tips for this recipe
Blanching the ginger prevents it from imparting a bitter flavor to the ice cream.
- Make sure the sweet potato is warm before processing it with the ice cream base, so it will be soft and blend well.
- Add the ice cream base gradually to the sweet potato also helps ensure that they blend well.
- Tapioca syrup (or corn syrup) is optional, but it does help maintain a smooth, soft texture.
- Want to make Fresh Ginger Ice Cream? Simply omit the sweet potato, and don’t bother to puree the base. Just strain out the ginger, and proceed to cool the base. Everything else in the recipe stays the same.
Sweet potato ginger ice cream
Makes about 1 quart
- 2.5 – 3 ounces (before peeling) of fresh ginger
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp tapioca syrup (can substitute with corn syrup, but NOT high fructose corn syrup)
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 cup cooked, mashed, peeled sweet potato, still warm, or re-warmed if already cooled (about 2 cups of 1/2-inch cubes of raw sweet potato)
Peel the ginger, slice it thinly, add it to a small saucepan, and add enough water to cover the ginger. Bring to a boil and simmer 1-2 minutes. Strain, discard the water, and set aside the ginger.
- Add blanched ginger, cream, milk, sugar, tapioca syrup, and salt to a 4 quart saucepan, and heat, while stirring, over medium-high heat, until it just reaches a simmer.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for about 30 minutes.
- Strain out the ginger and discard it.
- Add the warm, mashed sweet potato to a food processor or blender, with a little (less than a cup) of the hot cream mixture. Process until smooth.
- Gradually add the remaining cream mixture, processing until smooth, after each addition.
- Pour into a clean bowl and chill thoroughly in refrigerator, at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally so it will cool evenly.
- Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Transfer to a storage container and place in freezer until ready to eat.