The Fabulous Man got me an ice cream maker for Christmas. Actually he only was aware of this after the fact, as he wasn't present when the purchase was made. I'll explain: my husband is one of those fabulous men (hence the name) who says whenever I point at something and say how nice it is, that I should get it. Be honest, isn't that just the nicest thing you've heard all day? Of course I very rarely then go ahead and "get it", but it is such a nice change from all the previous men who tried to tell me how I should spend my money, even when I still earned my own salary in the days Before the Little Girl. That's why, when I saw the Cuisinart (which is what the authority on all things ice cream recommends) in the window, on sale nogal*, I went ahead and got it.
Of course I then had to decide which ice cream to make first, but honestly, it was a no-brainer: Roasted Cinnamon ice cream from Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen. This is the first ice cream I've ever made, and it's still my favourite. I love the contrast of the warm spice with the cold of the ice cream, and, like black heels, it goes with everything. Need something to go with your chocolate pudding? Cinnamon ice cream. Apple pie needs a lift? Check. Have some cardamom crumble left over from your fabulous pears with Best Chocolate Sauce in the World? There you go.
You have to get your timing down to a tee with a Little Girl in the house, and I've been thinking about this recipe for a couple of weeks now. It really showcases cinnamon, as it uses both ground cinnamon which you dry roast to bring out the flavour, as well as cinnamon sticks. I briefly thought about grinding my own cinnamon. You always hear about freshly ground spices being better, but somehow I couldn't remember ever hearing this about cinnamon. After a bit of research I came across this link, which told me this:
"Cinnamon is unusual among spices because freshly ground cinnamon is not always the best choice. Most spices are always better freshly ground because the spices start losing volatile oils and thus flavour as soon as they are ground, the longer they sit after that the more flavour and aroma is lost. Although this also holds true for ground cinnamon, producers generally grind the best cinnamon bark for sale as ground cinnamon and the lower quality cinnamon bark is rolled, dried, and sold as cinnamon sticks. The lower quality of bark used to make most cinnamon stick far outweighs the volatile oil loss of pre-ground cinnamon."
There you go. Every day something new.
I've decided to enter this recipe in the hugely popular Weekend Herb Blogging event, this week hosted by Cinzia from Cindystar. Please have a look at the round-up for all the recipes of this week. If you want to participate next time, the rules are here.
Enjoy your weekend!
Roasted cinnamon ice cream
makes about 4 cups
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups half-and-half cream (I used 1 cup milk and 1 cup light cream I had in the fridge)
1 large cinnamon stick
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream**
Toast cinnamon over low heat until warm and fragrant, about 2 -3 minutes.
In a saucepan, combine half-and-half and the cinnamon stick. Bring to just boil over medium high heat. As soon as bubbles break the surface, remove from heat and let infuse for 5 min. (I was forced to abandon my cream at this stage as the Little Girl wasn't happy with only the Fabulous Man's attention anymore. I left it in the fridge overnight and reheated it the next morning, which worked fine)
Lightly whisk egg yolks in a big bowl, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Beat just until it pales and thickens ever so slightly. Whisk in the hot cream, a little at a time.
Rinse out the saucepan but don't dry it. Have ready a fine strainer set over a clean bowl. Return the custard mixture to the pot over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7-10 minutes. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer.
Add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to the roasted cinnamon. Blend into a thick paste with a rubber spatula. Add another 2 tablespoons of cream, mix. Whisk the paste into the custard until smooth. Stir in the reaming cream, and press a piece of plastic wrap over the custard. Poke a few holes in the plastic to let steam escape, and let it cool in the fridge.
Churn your ice cream in your brand new Cuisinart, or follow David's instructions here to make your ice cream without an ice cream maker.
*Afrikaans expression meaning something like "to top it all"
** Did you notice I said 1 cup cream, not 2? If you did, well done. I didn't. I used 2. I kept on thinking that it looks a tad too creamy, but ignored that inner voice that urged me to check the recipe, as it sounded way too much like my mother. Not that the ice cream was bad. In fact, it was so rich and fabulous, I might repeat the mistake next time.