Weekend fun: Pumpkin ice cream and more star cookies

Temperatures dropped pretty quickly at the beginning of the month, but compared to other years, it’s still been pretty mild — a bit nippy in the morning, but I haven’t needed my winter coat yet. As such, it has been easy to deny that fall is here, upon us, even though my local market is filled with fresh autumnal produce: persimmons, pomegranates, pomelos, pumpkins (and they all start with ‘p’).

In a way, I’ve actually been waiting for fall to finally get here. I’ve had a leftover can of pumpkin from Thanksgiving last year that I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use. While fresh pumpkin (called 南瓜, nangua, in Chinese, meaning “southern melon”) are in abundance year-round in Beijing, I’ve never been one to go through the trouble of scooping out pumpkin insides and pureeing them, especially when canned pumpkin is so readily and cheaply available in the U.S. Not so in Beijing, however: Each can now sells for about $4.40 (up from $3.70 last year). So I really wanted to make the most of this can, which meant I had to wait until fall, the best season for pumpkin.

But what would I make with it? I’ve already made various types of pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin mousse, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pots de creme — what else is there? Ice cream, obviously. The best treat in the world, especially if you’re in denial that summer has ended.

Creamy, spicy pumpkin ice cream.
Creamy, spicy pumpkin ice cream.

I also made some orange cardamom star cookies.

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