I know September isn’t exactly prime ice cream season in Minnesota (although we were in the 90s not long ago), but maybe it should be. I spent some time at Pumphouse Creamery yesterday in South Minneapolis, and holy moly, the pumpkin ice cream is not to be missed.
You can watch how Barb Zapzalka makes the ice cream in the back of her shop Saturday morning at 8 a.m. on WCCO, but you certainly don’t need to wait until Saturday to go get a taste of it.
She buys the pumpkins at the farmers’ market—Long Island Cheese Squash, to be specific. Pie bakers know that variety of pumpkin well— it has few seeds and a delicious, creamy flavor. The pumpkins are young right now, and Barb mentioned the flavor changes as the season continues. The ice cream was incredible—it tasted like a pumpkin pie in ice cream form. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg—just autumnal goodness.
She uses as many local ingredients as she can find to create some very unique flavors. Crystal Ball Farms (the same organic farm I get my milk from) creates a premixed combo of cream, milk, and sugar—all according to Barb’s specific recipe.
It only took seven minutes in the ice cream machine to make the magic happen—a far cry from the time it took when I was messing around with my grandpa’s Kenmore Ice Cream machine as a kid. Then it sits in a freezer for 24 hours and it’s ready to go.
I tried her strawberry ice cream (southern Minnesota strawberries picked at the peak of ripeness in June, then frozen to use year-round), and her grape sorbet is not to be missed (did you know southern Minnesota farmers are growing grapes? They’re incredible—such an explosive flavor).
The Sea Salt, caramel, and praline pecans ice cream is the biggest seller; you can get quarts at local co-ops and Kowalski’s. But visiting the shop is a special treat. While I was there, a neighborhood grandma was bringing two kids from the neighborhood to buy them ice cream. She does it for the kids on their birthday. So perfect, for a local businesswoman who is trying to connect local farmers to local people through ice cream.
The pumpkin’s available through Thanksgiving—and apple ice cream is coming soon. There’s a reason Food & Wine named it one of the Top 25 Ice Cream Spots in the country. Don’t let the weather deter you! It’s still ice cream season at Pumphouse.
4754 Chicago Ave. S, Mpls.