This year, even more than others, it seems Americans have become obsessed with the thought of pumpkin. What previously seemed to have only been a phase has turned into an all-out epidemic. Companies across the country have packed pumpkin flavoring into absolutely everything with the hopes of increased revenue. As a part of the craze myself, I've been pretty impressed thus far with the Fall flavor releases. Companies like Graeter's use a simple, pumpkin-puree base, while Turkey Hill takes another approach with a swirl of cinnamon graham cracker to impersonate pie crust. Ben & Jerry's strays from the beaten path completely with their limited batch Pumpkin Cheesecake.
They've been on the pumpkin bandwagon for multiple seasons now and continue to take the cheesecake route, despite carrying a Pumpkin Pie flavor in their scoop shops. To create their version, Ben & Jerry's has blended together their patented graham cracker swirl with a pumpkin cheesecake base ice cream. With the exception of Berry Voluntary, all of their cheesecake flavors have gotten fairly high rankings from me, and with the limited batch stake in the background, this has the potential to catapult towards the top. Lifting off the pumpkin patch imprinted lid exposes a pastel orange base, but no signs of the graham cracker swirl.
Containing 270 calories per serving, this is pretty standard as far as super-premium ice creams are concerned. With the thick consistency, the pumpkin cheesecake base resists, but eventually breaks away enough to gather on the end of my spoon. Ben & Jerry's tends to flip-flop on how full-bodied they allow their cheesecake flavors to be. Berry Voluntary tended to let the fruit take the lead role, while Strawberry Cheesecake allowed the unique taste of cheesecake to take center stage. After taking my first bite, I'm relieved to find this flavor leads with loads of pumpkin.
Going light on the nutmeg, Ben & Jerry's has created one of the nicest pumpkin blends imaginable. When the dense ice cream encounters taste buds, the sweet and spiced flavor of pumpkin come forth, but follows with the taste of smooth, authentic cheesecake. Bite after bite of the pumpkin cheesecake ice cream continues to impress. It isn't long before I hit the patented graham cracker swirl that acts as this cheesecake's crust. The gritty, sugar-soaked swirl adds authentic graham cracker flavor and some much needed texture to the base.
The consistency of the graham cracker swirl used by Ben & Jerry's has quickly evolved into one of my favorites. I've heard complaints of a small amount of the swirl in pints, but mine was packed from top to bottom, enhancing nearly every bite. Unless a super-premium player makes a perfect pumpkin pie flavor, I don't see anything rising above this seasonal selection. The powerful combination of pumpkin, graham cracker crust, and cheesecake result in one of the best flavors of Fall.
Where I Found It: Super Wal-Mart