Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Ice cream may not seem like a winter-appropriate dessert but I made this ice cream for Thanksgiving to accompany a vanilla bean bread pudding, and when it's an accompaniment to a warm dish, I think ice cream is v. appropriate. I actually made the bread pudding with challah bread instead of sourdough and it was good; like, good enough to the point where I want to make all future bread puddings exclusively with challah. To elevate the dessert a little more special for the holiday, I thought I'd impress my guests with some homemade ice cream. I mean, crème anglaise (the type of ice cream base I use) is an amazing sauce on bread pudding already, so if you serve cold ice cream over hot bread pudding and some of it melts, it's just like you spooned a bit of sauce over the top. Parfait.
Ingredients:
2 cups half & half
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup + ½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by pouring both dairy products into a saucepan along with half of the sugar and a cinnamon stick. Place over a low flame to slowly heat up the mixture. The slow heating will draw more flavor out of the cinnamon stick.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar, and salt until the color goes from a rich pigmented yellow to a pale yellow. Whisk in the ground cinnamon and set aside.
Once the cream and half & half are heated, temper the egg yolk mixture by pouring in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream and whisking quickly. Keep pouring in the cream little by little until it's completely incorporated.
Once all of the cream is incorporated, strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Straining the mixture will allow you to make sure that none of the egg scrambled, and if it did, to remove the scrambled bits. Throw the cinnamon stick back into the saucepan.
Heat the custard mixture up over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Let the custard cool for a bit before covering the container with plastic wrap and chucking it in the fridge to chill. The custard should chill for at least 4 hours but if you have time, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Once it's chilled, stir in the vanilla extract.
Make the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. The length of time you let it churn will affect the amount of air that is incorporated into the ice cream. I like a well-balanced ice cream - dense enough to be decadent without being overly heavy.
Scoop the ice cream into an air tight container.
Store the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours to harden up to "normal" ice cream consistency. Or, you could serve it immediately for a soft-serve consistency.
This ice cream isn't overly cinnamony. It's got a v. delicate spicy aroma and just enough flavor to let you know it's cinnamon flavored. If you're looking for something that tastes like 'red hots' candies, I'd suggest adding in some cinnamon extract, but honestly, I'm not a fan of that sort of artificial cinnamon taste. This ice cream is a perfect accompaniment for a dessert-y french toast, between two snicker doodle cookies, apple pie, the list goes on.
Oh, and of course it goes really well with vanilla bean bread pudding. Enjoy.
Here's the recipe page:

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