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Mike Filigenzi

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RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:50 pm

Seems like cinnamon ice cream is a bit of a cliche. The stuff shows up on a lot of menus around here but despite that, I usually find that it misses the mark in delivering good cinnamon flavor. Because of those disappointments, I've been keeping an eye out for a really good recipe for it. This one hits on all cylinders, providing a rich, creamy texture and deep cinnamon flavor. It's an excellent showcase for Penzey's Vietnamese cassia. Definitely the best cinnamon ice cream I've had and one of the best ice creams I've made. The recipe is from Regan Daley's book, In the Sweet Kitchen. She also includes a variant that goes with vanilla beans instead of cinnamon but the latter is so good I'll probably never get to the former. We served this with a very bittersweet chocolate cake and it was a great way to end our Christmas supper.

Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

2 teaspoons good quality ground cassia or cinnamon (I strongly recommend the aforementioned Penzey's cassia)
2 cups half and half
1 large cinnamon or cassia stick, broken into 3 or 4 pieces
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

In a small, dry, non-stick skillet over low heat, toast the ground cinnamon until it is warm to the touch and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the spice moving, either by shaking the pan or by stirring, to prevent scorching. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, combine the half-and-half with the pieces of cinnamon stick. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring just to the boil, watching closely so the half-and-half doesn't boil over. As soon as bubbles break the surface, remove the pot from the heat and let the cinnamon infuse for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Beat until it just pales and thickens ever so slightly. Place a damp kitchen towel around the base of the bowl to keep it in place and whisk in the hot half-and-half, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated. Rinse out the saucepan but don't dry it and return the custard to the sauce pan. (Note: I did this by whisking in a few tablespoonfuls of the hot half-and-half with the egg and then slowly whisking the egg mix back into the pot containing the half and half.)

Have a fine strainer ready over a clean bowl. Carefully heat the custard mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. A finger drawn across the back of the spoon should leave a clean trail. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoonfuls of the heavy cream to the roasted cinnamon and use a rubber spatula to blend it into a thick, smooth paste. Add another 2 tablespoonfuls of this cream and work it in until the mixture is about the thickness of a spreadable icing. (Note: This seemed pretty thin when I did it.) Whisk the cinnamon paste into the hot custard until it is smooth. Stir in the remaining heavy cream and press apiece of plastic wrap onto the surface to keep it from forming a skin. Poke a few holes in the plastic to allow steam to escape and place the bowl into the refrigerator until very cold, at least 4 hours but preferable overnight.

Process the custard in an ice cream maker as per the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the softly frozen ice cream to a freezable dish and freeze until firm.
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Matilda L

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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Matilda L » Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:26 pm

Sounds good. I must try this. I've had a hit at dinner parties with cinnamon ice cream (which isn't common enough in these parts to be a cliche yet!). The recipe I used was an adjustment of a recipe for vanilla ice cream. The toasting of the cinnamon is different - but it makes sense to me, as many recipes call for you toast curry spices in a pan before use. I must have a look around some specialty stores to see if Penzey's spices are available. I haven't seen them anywhere I shop.

Matilda
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:50 pm

Matilda L wrote:Sounds good. I must try this. I've had a hit at dinner parties with cinnamon ice cream (which isn't common enough in these parts to be a cliche yet!). The recipe I used was an adjustment of a recipe for vanilla ice cream. The toasting of the cinnamon is different - but it makes sense to me, as many recipes call for you toast curry spices in a pan before use. I must have a look around some specialty stores to see if Penzey's spices are available. I haven't seen them anywhere I shop.

Matilda


Don't know if it would be worth ordering online or not, but they're at Penzeys.com.
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Celia

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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Celia » Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:00 am

Mike, Pete makes the icecream at home, using a similar technique to yours. I'll pass the toasted cinnamon idea onto him, thanks!
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Greg H » Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:52 pm

If this is viewed as a hijack of the thread, I can start another one.

At present, I store my homemade ice cream in a rubbermaid container. Is there an alternative solution which folks like better than this?
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:44 pm

Greg -

I store mine in 1-quart plastic containers that originally contained ice cream from a local shop. It's a shop that hand-packs their ice cream, so there are no labels or anything like that on the containers. I find they work very well.
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Cynthia Wenslow » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:43 pm

Mike, you are the Ice Cream God. This is another one I'll have to try. When the temp stays over, say, 10 for a couple weeks.

Greg, I do as you do. Rubbermaid containers. I don't make ice cream as often as I want to though, because.... well, I'll eat it! 8)
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Max Hauser

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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Max Hauser » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:20 am

Mike, it sounds like an outstanding idea. I could see it would work, just from the title. Regan Daley must be inspired (or have good sources.)* Do you make many ice creams? I don't think I ever have.

(Before someone outside North America asks the inevitable question -- comes up often on heavily international fora like rec.food.cooking, it's in an FAQ file I think -- it's worth mentioning that Half-and-Half means half milk, half cream, it's a type of light cream popular in US. A regional term. Like eggplant, Graham crackers and all the rest of those.)


* "The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star." (La découverte d'un mets nouveau fait plus pour le bonheur du genre humain que la découverte d'une étoile.) -- J.-A. de Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:48 pm

Max -

I enjoy making ice cream and do so fairly frequently. This cinnamon one is one of the best I've made. The cinnamon flavor is very deep and the egg-cream ratio makes for a very good consistency and mouthfeel. I made a version of it with vanilla beans last night and it also came out well. I'll be looking to try this basic custard out with some other flavors as it really works well.
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Max Hauser » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:33 pm

Well Mike, I can easily believe (without having tasted it, and not even being much of a dessert enthusiast) that this is a Prime* ice-cream idea. Some flavorings and combinations work. It's obvious afterwards that they do (like Mozart's music) but whoever thought them up deserves credit.

(If you're around Sacramento, should you find yourself coming to southern Bay Area and be interested, you are welcome to get in touch; if the timing works out, I can introduce you to a creative chef who is all about things like that. I think Mark Lipton, maybe Dale W. and others might agree. His restaurant's dessert department also does unusual ice creams from time to time, sweet or savory, that work.)


* US meats and also Internet jokes have been graded into Prime, Choice, Good, Utlity or Pet. Why not recipes too?
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:46 pm

You're on, Max! Next time I'm in the South Bay, I'll PM you.

Thanks!
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Leanne S

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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Leanne S » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:54 am

Mike, do you have an opinion on cinnamon versus cassia? I only read about the difference recently; before that I didn't notice that if I bought stick cinnamon in the Mexican market it was different looking than supermarket sticks.
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:06 am

Leanne -

I can only go by what I get from Penzey's. The Vietnamese cassia they sell is the strongest and most flavorful cinnamon I've ever come across. Their true cinnamon from Ceylon is good but it doesn't have the punch and complexity that the Vietnamese stuff has. For something like this ice cream, I think the Vietnamese cassia is ideal. It might be too much for a dish needing a more subtle cinnamon flavor.

I'm not sure which is used in Mexican cooking.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:09 pm

Made this yesterday. With undue excitement: My dad called just as the custard was cooking. He asked me an urgent question, and when I next looked at the stove, the custard had curdled. I quickly threw it into the waiting strainer, pressed as much through as I could, then added some cold heavy cream and whisked it like mad. The curds relaxed, thank goodness. The rest went without incident.

The texture of this ice cream is amazingly good, as is the flavor. Now I need to do something with 6 egg whites (...not quite enough for an angel food cake).

Thank you, Mike.

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Add 2 tablespoonfuls of the heavy cream to the roasted cinnamon and use a rubber spatula to blend it into a thick, smooth paste. Add another 2 tablespoonfuls of this cream and work it in until the mixture is about the thickness of a spreadable icing. (Note: This seemed pretty thin when I did it.)


I got a thick paste when I did it.
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Re: RCP: Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:44 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:Made this yesterday. With undue excitement: My dad called just as the custard was cooking. He asked me an urgent question, and when I next looked at the stove, the custard had curdled. I quickly threw it into the waiting strainer, pressed as much through as I could, then added some cold heavy cream and whisked it like mad. The curds relaxed, thank goodness. The rest went without incident.

The texture of this ice cream is amazingly good, as is the flavor. Now I need to do something with 6 egg whites (...not quite enough for an angel food cake).

Thank you, Mike.

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Add 2 tablespoonfuls of the heavy cream to the roasted cinnamon and use a rubber spatula to blend it into a thick, smooth paste. Add another 2 tablespoonfuls of this cream and work it in until the mixture is about the thickness of a spreadable icing. (Note: This seemed pretty thin when I did it.)


I got a thick paste when I did it.


Glad you were able to rescue the custard, Jeff, and I'm glad you liked the results.

I usually try and get my wife to make macaroons from the leftover egg whites.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

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