I have a new favorite ice cream flavor for fall. Rich and nutty winter squash gets the royal treatment with sweet maple and a kick of five spice. The weather has been hovering on the brink here: one day will be sunny and warm, the next will turn grey and cold. This ice cream bridges the gap. It’s got a warming blend of fall flavors delivered in the cold smoothness of an ice cream.
Five spice powder is a Chinese seasoning that is designed to balance five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. Exact blends vary, but the usual ingredients include star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel. It’s a blend that can work beautifully in either sweet or savory dishes. Here, it punches up the flavor and provides a warmth and complexity to the squash/maple combination. I bought my bottle of Five Spice Powder at Whole Foods (where it was only $2.50), but you might also look for it at Asian grocers or online. If you really can’t find it, try this ice cream anyway, with a teaspoon or two of pumpkin pie spice substituted in.