Makes about 1 quart
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
A big pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1-15 oz can 100% pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
A few turns of fresh ground black pepper
Optional: 2 teaspoons whiskey or brandy
Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nesting a medium-sized (2 quart) metal bowl inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top. Pour the cream into the medium-sized bowl. Set this aside.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, granulated sugar, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Then slowly add about half of the warm milk into the yolk whisking constantly. (This is called tempering the yolks. Adding the warm milk slowly and whisking constantly keeps the yolks from scrambling.)
Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan with the milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160º-170ºF.
Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the heavy cream, in the bowl nested in the ice bath. Stir for a few minutes until it cools.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and whiskey or brandy, if using. Add mixture to the milk/cream bowl and stir to blend ingredients thoroughly.
Chill ice cream base thoroughly in the refrigerator, preferably overnight. When mixture is thoroughly cool, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.