When I was in Tokyo, I fell in love with Crunchy Pumpkin Party, a seasonal ice cream flavor. All of the pumpkin flavored things here in the States are super sweet and accompanied by cinnamon and nutmeg. The novelty of the Crunchy Pumpkin Party was that it tasted more like squash than pumpkin pie. It wasn’t overly sweet, and it was laced with cookie pieces and chunks of squash. Yum. When I got home, I was pretty confident I could replicate it.

Want to try a vegan version? Here’s my vegan recipe.

One of the keys is to use a kabocha squash if you can get your hands on one. Canned plain pumpkin puree should be used as a last resort.


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 t vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
8 egg yolks
1 cup baked kabocha squash puree
3 T of cream cheese
8 sandwich cookies with the filling scraped out, then crushed into itsy bitsy pieces
Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Bring cream and milk to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla bean paste, cover, then let it steep for 1 hour.
  2. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, 3/4 cup of squash purée, and cream cheese. Gradually poor the milk mixture into saucepan, whisking constantly, until fully incorporated. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring lots until it has a lovely custard consistency. Don’t overcook.
  3. Strain the custard into a sealable container. Add salt to taste. Chill this glorious concoction overnight.
  4. Mix in the remainder of the squash puree and churn in your ice cream machine or 20 minutes or as your manufacturer directs. Add cookies to the last 5 minutes of churning.
  5. Remove the ice cream from the machine and stash it in a freezer container. I suggest giving it at least an hour in the freezer to “cure” before serving.

I grabbed a spoon, crossed my fingers, and took a bite. Victory! Flavor was spot on! I have unlocked the secret to a crunchy pumpkin party!

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