I love frozen desserts, it’s no secret that I’ll be glad to eat them at any given time of the year, regardless of what the weather decides it wants to do. Everyone has their comfort food and desserts, frozen ones are just one facet of food that can provide that satisfying feeling of goodness. I’ve been dreaming of concocting a kulfi recipe this year, one that would be a little “fall-ish” and also have some sort of herbal infusion in it. This pumpkin and sage kulfi ticked of all those requirements in my little head stuffed with food fantasies.
Not to be confused with ice cream, a kulfi is a frozen Indian dessert. There’s no churning and no scooping, it’s either shaped in molds or cut into slices with a knife before serving. Kulfi also has a different texture than ice cream which is why I’m always kind of hesitant to describe it as an Indian version of ice cream, I’d like to think of it as holding it’s own ground in the world of frozen desserts.
I started off by infusing a little bit of Califia unsweetened almond milk with fresh sage leaves and then folded in some pumpkin puree. I used Califia because for one it tastes fantastic and two, it doesn’t curdle on heating which becomes important when boiling the kulfi base. Working with the milk is easy and my favorite part (besides gorging on this pumpkin sage kulfi) has to be the herb infusion stage. All that sage in my hands being chopped and then being dunked into the almond milk, that’s good stuff!
Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this kulfi at home,
- You need to boil the base to get rid of the water content and the pumpkin purée and cornstarch both help to aid in the process of binding the water molecules during freezing.
- You can cut back on the sugar to about 1/2 cup if you don’t like it too sweet. I like brown sugar here because pumpkin and brown sugar are a match made in culinary heaven!
- Don’t expect ice cream when you eat kulfi, it’s a milky frozen dessert with a firmer texture because it is not churned. You will also see a few tiny ice crystals when cut through it.
- You don’t really need fancy molds to make kulfi (I don’t currently own any), I use my trust worthy mason canning jars. They work great as long as they are freezer-safe and have shapes that allow you to release the kulfi before serving.
- Here’s a little tip to cut the fresh sage leaves: I bundle the leaves up together and then roll them up before cutting them into thin strands.
- I tend to thaw kulfi a little before serving, it helps with the release and softening of the dessert.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia and all opinions stated here are purely my own.
pumpkin sage kulfi
yields: 6 servings
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips
1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin purée
3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 cup (2 ounces) almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
a little extra fresh sage leaves for garnishing
1. Take 1 cup of the almond milk and pour into a small thick bottomed saucepan. Dump the sage leaves into the almond milk and bring to a boil on a medium-high flame, stirring occasionally. Reduce the flame, stir and cook for another 1 minute. Remove from stove and strain the liquid. Discard the leaves and keep the strained almond milk aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the pumpkin purée, rest of the almond milk (reserve 2 tablespoons of the almond milk for later), and the 1 cup of almond milk previously infused with the sage, until smooth.
3. Transfer the pumpkin- almond milk mixture to a large thick bottomed saucepan along with the sugar and almond flour. Bring the contents to boil on a medium high flame, stirring often and boil for about 4 minutes until the mixture begins to get thick. In the mean time, take the 2 tablespoons of reserved almond milk and the cornstarch and mix in a small bowl to form a slurry. Remove the saucepan from the stove and quickly whisk in the cornstarch slurry and place the saucepan back on the stove. Be careful to ensure no clumps form. Continue to boil the contents of the saucepan for 2 minutes until it forms acquires a thick custard like consistency. Remove from stove and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Stir the contents of the saucepan and equally divide the liquid into six clean freezer proof molds or six 290mL canning jars, leaving approximately 1/2 inch space at the top. Cover the surface of each jar with cling film and freeze them for at least 2 hours or until frozen. To serve, allow the jars to sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the kulfi to loosen, flip the mold/jar over a serving plate to release. If the kulfi is still to hard, thaw it for another 5 minutes and then run a little hot tap water on the outside surface of the jar to release. Garnish with a few fresh sage leaves before serving.