Pumpkin Vanilla-Bean Sorbet

by Chef Laura Frankel, author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons (Wiley) and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes (Wiley)

There is always room for dessert if you serve sorbet. The creamy pumpkin sorbet with cinnamon and nutmeg has all the elements of pumpkin pie.


2 1/4 cups water (bottled water makes a tastier sorbet)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 vanilla bean, scraped*
Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, chocolate sauce


Place water and sugars in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and add pumpkin puree and spices and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Cool completely then add to your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Store the sorbet covered in the freezer. If the sorbet begins to separate after about 5 days, simply melt it and re-process it in your machine.

*A whole vanilla bean is actually a pod. Inside the pod are thousands of tiny black seeds. Vanilla beans are richly perfumed with the exotic fragrance and flavor of vanilla. For some recipes, I would rather use a vanilla bean as you just get more pure vanilla flavor. I also like the look of the tiny black seeds in ice cream, custards and this sorbet. The pure essence is intoxicating. A bonus tip is that vanilla beans are kosher all year long and during Pesach. No need to use inferior quality extracts during Pesach. Go for the good stuff! I prefer Tahitian vanilla beans as they possess an exotic floral fragrance. Other great vanilla beans would be from Madagascar.

To use a vanilla bean: cut the bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the back of your knife along the cut side of the bean. You will have scraped up the seeds and the reddish gooey essence.