Pastel de Calabaza (Pumpkin Cake) served with Helado de Salvia (Sage Ice Cream) and Compota de Calabaza y Cereza (Pumpkin Cherry Compote)


Elissa Narow adapted by Michael McCabe

Pumpkin Cake with Sage Ice Cream and Pumpkin Cherry Compote

Servings: 12


Start to finish: 5 hours


Active Time: 1 hour




If you decide to use fresh pumpkin purée for this cake, be sure you drain it for the full eight hours we recommend in the procedure.


Cooks' notes:


 - To cool custard quickly after straining, set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until chilled.


- Custard can be chilled up to 24 hours before making ice cream. • Pumpkin cake and sage ice cream keep, frozen separately, 1 month. Wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw cake (in wrapping) at room temperature.


- Arrop is available in some Latin markets and Tienda (888-472-1022).


Cuisine: Spanish


Categories: Baked, Cake, Condiment/Relish, Custard, Dessert, Ice Cream, Sauce, Simmer


Source: October, 2001 issue of Gourmet


Copyright: 2008




For sage ice cream


2 cups heavy cream

2 cups half and half

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage

4 (2- by 1/2-inch strips) lemon zest

9 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


For pumpkin cake


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup safflower oil

1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree


For compote


1/2 cup dried tart cherries

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 pounds fresh pumpkin (preferably sugar or cheese pumpkin) (2 cups), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice


"accompaniment" arrop (Spanish candied pumpkin) syrup

"garnish" confectioner's sugar




large heavy saucepan


large bowl for custard

wooden spoon

instant read thermometer

fine sieve


plastic wrap

ice cream maker

airtight container with cover

13-by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan

wax or parchment paper


large bowl for dry ingredients


bowl for cherries

large skillet with cover

3-inch cookie cutter




     Make ice cream:


Bring cream, half-and-half, sage, and zest to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat and steep, covered, 10 minutes.


Whisk together yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in half of hot cream, then whisk egg mixture into remaining cream in saucepan. Cook custard over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it coats back of spoon and reaches 170°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).


Pour custard through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 3 hours.


Freeze custard in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.


     Make cake:


Preheat oven to 350°F.


Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan. Line bottom with wax or parchment paper, then butter paper.


Sift together flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in oil and pumpkin purée. Add flour mixture and whisk just until smooth. Pour batter into baking pan and bake in middle of oven until springy to the touch and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.


Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge and invert onto rack. Peel off paper and cool cake completely.


     Make compote:


Soak cherries in hot water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes, then drain.


Melt butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt, then cook, stirring until smooth. Add pumpkin and drained cherries and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin is tender, 8 to 12 minutes.


     Assemble dessert:


Cut out 12 (3-inch) rounds from cake with cutter. Halve each round horizontally, then put bottom halves on 12 plates and top with scoops of ice cream. Spoon compote on and around cakes, then tilt tops against ice cream.