In Cinderella, from Charles Perrault’s The Tales of Mother Goose, the forlorn title character’s fairy godmother asks her to “run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin.” With wand in hand, Cinderella’s godmother gets to work, transforming the finest pumpkin from the patch into a carriage “gilded all over with gold.”
The pumpkin, as lore has it, wasn’t a round Jack-o’-lantern-friendly number, but a Cinderella pumpkin, a.k.a. Rouge Vif d’Etampes, a French heirloom pumpkin that people centuries ago—including fairy godmother gardeners—would have cultivated, cooked, and consumed.
Cinderella pumpkins, with their 15- to 20-pound heft, squat features, pronounced ribbing, and deep orange/red skin, are very dense. With their strong, naturally sweet flavor, they lend themselves beautifully to cooking and especially ice cream making. This year, Hirsch Fruit Farm grew us a large patch of Cinderella pumpkins, which our kitchen team has transformed from the ground up into super-creamy Cinderella Pumpkin ice cream.
A blend of roasted pumpkin and sweet grass-grazed cream, the fall flavor is rounded out with blackstrap molasses and warming fall spices. In addition to the flavors in the Late Harvest Collection, Cinderella Pumpkin pairs well with several flavors on our menu, but we like it especially with Pistachio & Honey and Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean.
Here’s how we go from an Ohio field of Cinderella pumpkins to Cinderella Pumpkin ice cream:
1) Hirsch Fruit Farm, near Chillicothe, Ohio, delivers Cinderella pumpkins an hour’s drive north to our kitchen in Columbus:
2) Our kitchen team gives the stars of the story a water bath:
3) The pumpkins are split prior to roasting:
4) And then the seeds are removed:
5) We cut the pumpkins in smaller pieces so they’ll roast more evenly:
6) Pumpkins roasting until they’re soft and begin to caramelize. Roasting also evaporates a lot of water in the pumpkins and concentrates the sugars:
7) When they’re done, the pumpkins are removed from the oven to cool on the counter:
8) Cinderella’s godmother was hands-on and so are we. Here we are removing pumpkin flesh by hand to make Cinderella Pumpkin ice cream:
9) Once the flesh is scooped from the rinds, we add it to buckets of spices and cream, blend it, and then add it to magical ice cream machine. Then, what emerges is all-killer-no-filler Cinderella Pumpkin ice cream: