First off, if you’re not familiar with Penzey’s Spices do yourself a big favor and head over there for a looksee. I’ve been using spices, herbs, and whatnot from Penzey’s for years. They’re just plain amazing.
This ice cream is something I came up with four or so years ago as a side to a roasted pineapple (I’ll post that some other time). It’s wonderful stuff, and really worth the effort to search out good vanilla beans and cinnamon. Did I mention Penzey’s is a great place for spices?
Cinnamon Ice Cream
3 c. Half-and-half
2 sticks cinnamon, broken
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
3 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
- Pour the half-and-half into a heavy saucepan. Add both cinnamons, the vanilla seeds and the scraped bean husk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid scalding. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the eggs are pale yellow and form a ribbon when you drizzle the egg/sugar mix back into the bowl. Set the bowl in a towel rolled into a ring. (This keeps the bowl from scooting all over the place during the mixing which is about to occur.) Bring the half-and-half back to a simmer, then very slowly pour 1/2 c. of the hot cream into the egg mix, stirring constantly. After this initial bit is mixed in, slowly pour in the rest of the cream, whisking constantly. Pour the mix back into the saucepan.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat and continuously stir the custard. Cook until it just begins to thicken — at the point where it leaves a clear strip when you draw your finger across the back of the spoon or spatula you’re using to stir. Remove from the heat and pour through a strainer into a bowl set in an ice bath.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pushing down onto the surface of the custard, and chill overnight. This overnight resting is critical to the outcome of the ice cream. The stuff will be very good if you skip this and go straight to freezing, but it will be wonderful if you’re able to do this the night before. The additional resting time gives the proteins and other smart-sounding stuff time to bind. I don’t know what really happens, I just know I followed Alton Brown’s suggestion from years ago on FoodTV and it makes a helluva difference in the final texture.
- Process as usual in whatever ice cream maker you’ve got. We’ve got an old Krups which has served us very well over the years.
Here’s a shot of the eggs at ribbon stage:
Here’s the custard after it’s been cooked just enough: