1/3cupunrefined sugar (such as Alter Eco brand), or packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the half and half with the cinnamons, ginger and vanilla bean, swirling occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam and small bubbles appear around the sides of the pot. Turn off the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.
Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and salt together in a small bowl, and place the bowl on a damp towel to stabilize it. Re-warm the half and half mixture to steaming, and dribble the hot dairy into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. (This is called 'tempering,' and it prevents the yolks from scrambling.)
Return the dairy-yolk mixture to the pot, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof silicone spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot, just until the mixture begins to 'stick' (form a thin film ovethe bottom of the pot, and/or registers 170º on an instant-read thermometer.
Immediately remove the pot from the heat, and whisk in the cream, squash puree, brown sugar and nutmeg.
Pour the ice cream base through a fine-mesh strainer, working the mixture through with a silicone spatula. Cover the mixture and chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days.
For an extra-cold start which will lead to creamier ice cream, place the ice cream base in the freezer for 15 minutes, stirring the mixture twice during that time.
Process the ice cream in an ice cream maker, then scrape it into a container, cover, and 'cure' in the freezer until firm enough to scoop, 1-2 hours. The ice cream will keep, covered, in the freezer for up to several months, though it is best within the first few days of being churned.
Inspired by The Craft of Baking, via David LebovitzTo make your own squash puree (butternut is my squash of choice), slice a medium squash in half lengthwise, leave the seeds in, and place the squash cut-side-down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast in a 375º oven until soft and collapsing, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely, scrape out the seeds and discard, then scrape out the flesh, discarding the skins. Puree the squash in a food processor until smooth. Extra puree will keep in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for several months.The original recipe seemed a bit fussy to me at first; adding the squash and brown sugar at the end, using both cinnamon sticks and powdered cinnamon. But I realized that there are reasons for all of this. The acids in the squash and brown sugar can curdle the dairy if added before it has been cooked into a stable custard. And I liked the flavor of both the cinnamon sticks and grounds better than either one on their own. Additionally, I like to add the cold cream at the end, to cool down the custard more quickly and remove the necessity of an ice bath, and I've found that nutmeg's flavor is more clear when it is not heated, so I add that at the end, too.Nutritional values are based on one of six servings.