Pumpkin Ice Cream ($3.75)
Recommended by serious eater Alaina Browne, the Pumpkin at Sundaes & Cones is easy to like. Solid and satisfying, and best in a sugar cone and not the cup. It's that extra bit of crunch that completes this particular flavor, like a makeshift frozen pumpkin pie. It's nothing fancy or extravagant, but a total feel-good dessert, especially when enjoyed at one of the window seats.
Kyotofu's pumpkin soft serve (single, $3.95)
With a soymilk base, it's light and pleasing, the soymilk lending just a whisper of nuttiness. Have the pumpkin on its own or as a partnered twist with the another flavor (only two are offered at a time), which could be anything from vanilla to chocolate to spicy chocolate. (Call to confirm flavors as they change it up every week.) Each serving comes with one topping; matcha mochi is pictured above, but this flavor pairs better with the kuromitsu, a deep and haunting brown sugar syrup.
L'Arte del Gelato's pumpkin gelato ($4)
It's some sort of sublime magic, pure pumpkin with none of the spices that often evoke fall. Just pumpkin, pumpkin and pumpkin—churned into a creamy, silky concoction. It's full and almost buttery in the mouth, a unexpectedly comforting sweet even in chilly weather.
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain ($7.95)
This sundae goes by the name of "The Great Pumpkin," and that it surely is—the housemade fresh pumpkin ice cream piled high with a topping of wet and sticky Maine maple syrup-soaked walnuts. With fresh whipped cream to finish, it's a huge dessert meant for sharing.
Shake Shack's Pumpkin Pie Custard ($3.50)
Wholesome and intensely pumpkin-y, though light on the spices, it's the treat I look forward to each fall. Take note—this one is only available on Wednesdays till the end of November, so that means you have exactly one more day to get it, this week. That is, unless they decided to put it on the December custard calender as well—fingers crossed!
Otto's Pumpkin Copetta ($10)
Its composition varies slightly from year to year, but you can always count on Meredith Kurtzman's stellar silky smooth pumpkin gelato as the base. Everything from almond crumble to cherries to buttered pecans has made an appearance. This year's gelato is just as thrilling, paired with crumbled fresh and spicy gingerbread cake at the base, soft little nibbles against the crunch of salty toasted spiced pecans—and one boozy pour of a toffee-like coffee-bourbon sauce.
Pumpkin Ice Cream at Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
At the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, pumpkin ice cream goes for $3.95 a scoop. What sets this pumpkin ice cream apart from the rest is a heavy hand of ginger, easily outshining the cinnamon and cloves. The ginger hands it a haunting sort of heat which I found irresistible. Many of Van Leeuwen's flavors are somewhat subdued, but pumpkin is one they do well.
Pumpkin Ice Cream ($4.75) at Cones
A dash of ground cinnamon tops each order of pumpkin at Cones, home of Argentine-style ice cream in the West Village. With a creamy texture closer to gelato than ice cream, the pumpkin comes in strongly, a rich heady mouthful. Care to make it more indulgent? This just begs for fresh whipped cream.
Sweet Melissa's Pumpkin Ice Cream (small, $3.50)
At first you wouldn't suspect this light, almost vanilla-colored ice cream at Sweet Melissa's to be so pumpkiny. But it's like eating spoonfuls of Libby's canned pumpkin pie filling puree. It gets sweeter with each bite; by the end of it, you almost forget you're eating pumpkin ice cream. Creamy, rich, and spiced (you can see the nutmeg speckles in there) it started reminding us of egg nog. Like the other flavors at Sweet Melissa, it's from Philly-based Bassets, one of the country's oldest ice creameries. Sweet Melissa should have it through the end of November. —EZ
Blue Marble Pumpkin Ice Cream ($3.58)
Like all of Blue Marble's offerings, it's creamy and intensely flavored, melting slowly on the tongue. This is definitely a pumpkin ice cream flavor, rather than any crazy straightforward expression of the main ingredient: cream, pumpkin, and spice are all present, playing off each other nicely. If you get a double scoop, make the other one maple.