Adirondack Creamery’s pumpkin pie ice cream, explains owner Paul Nasrani, is based on an old recipe he procured from his mother–and it eats as if he liquefied one of her final products and then froze it and churned it into this cold treat. Rich and creamy, it’s redolent of nutmeg, cinnamon, and, of course, sweet, earthy pumpkin–and it’s so convincing, it had at least one of us here at Fork pondering forgoing crafting the classic Thanksgiving dessert come November in exchange for a pint of this instead.
If that tempts you, we recommend you pick up a serving quickly: Nasrani sells the Pumpkin Pie ice cream only seasonally, and it’ll be available until November, at which point it will be replaced by peppermint stick–made with candy canes from a Hudson Valley candy-maker–and another flavor Nasrani has in the works, which he says will be made with all local ingredients.
And keeping it local is a big part of the Adirondack legacy: Nasrani gave up his career at an accounting firm to focus on locally sourced and crafted ice cream after his studio apartment ice cream-making hobby prompted him to buy a commercial machine. He needed a place to run that, so he moved upstate to Lake George, where the owners of a 100-year-old ice cream shop agreed to let him install his equipment and start churning out his own line.
There was quickly a snag in his plans, though: “Lake George was really far from the markets, and it was a short season,” he says. And when he looked at contracting a dairy to make his ice cream–the base of which contains just milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and no stabilizers–he became discouraged. “Dairies would do it, but I’d have to commit to a tractor trailer of ice cream,” he says. Not to mention dealing with regulators that had, at that point, rarely dealt with an ice cream maker averse to stabilizers.
Nasrani began scouring the Hudson Valley for a dairy that would work with him, eventually landing on one of the oldest family-owned dairies in the state. “They had a room full of ice cream equipment,” he explains. “But they didn’t really know how to use it.” So they let Nasrani come in and figure it out, which launched a small-scale operation that grew into the retail operation that’s slowly but surely spreading throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Adirondack sources everything it can in state–“The milk and cream comes from farms that are 90 miles away from Manhattan,” says Nasrani by way of example–though he acknowledges that vanilla must come from places like Tahiti or Madagascar. But the creamery draws flavor inspiration from much more global sources: Adirondack turns out a regular kulfi-pistachio cardamom flavor based on a recipe for kulfi that comes from Nasrani’s wife’s aunt, a native of Kashmir. The company also turns out more classic concoctions like a vanilla and whiteface mint chip; the latter is imbued with bracingly fresh mint, which carries far more bite than what you find in most mint chip ice creams.
Nasrani will continue to unveil new flavors and holiday one-offs, paying homage to nearby suppliers and craftsmen as he’s able. You can find Adirondack’s ice creams at Union Market, Fairway, the Park Slope Food Coop, and the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain where it’s being scooped and used in shakes.