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Cinnamon Ice Cream

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This blog entry is about something that doesn't have a place in the normal Picture Entry Sections on my website. It was a homemade cinnamon ice cream, but since it is not a Side Dish nor is it a Desert that was grilled or smoked, there really is no picture entry section on the site where it would be a good fit. But it was sooooooo, soooooo good that it does deserves special mention, which is why I am making this blog entry.

Last weekend I made a PAELLA JAMON SERRANO Y ACEITUNAS and GAZPACHO ANDALUZ from the cookbook Paella, Paella. While I was looking through that cookbook for which recipe I was going to make, I discovered a recipe for some homemade cinnamon ice cream. The recipe was called Helado do Canela (cinnamon Ice Cream). What intrigued me was the recipe used a few simple ingredients and did not require the use of an ice cream making machine to churn the ice cream. The thought of a cinnamon flavored ice cream with lots of rich egg yolks was intriguing as well. Finally the idea that this was dessert I could make a day or so ahead of time also fit the bill nicely. I was already doing gazpacho (cold soup), which I was making a day ahead of time. I could do this ice cream on that day as well and on the day of the meal, I would only have to worry about cooking the paella on the grill.

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The two cups of milk & the cinnamon stick & lemon rind are gently heating on the stove. In the left foreground you can see the egg separator.

As I said, the ingredients very simple: 4 cups of milk, 6 egg yolks, 1-1/2 cups of sugar, a 4" cinnamon stick and a 4" section of lemon rind. That was it! The only thing that was even remotely tricky, was that you had to bring the milk to a summer without it coming to a hard boil. Otherwise you would start having something that resembles scrambled eggs or custard instead of ice cream. You started off by pouring 2 cups of milk into a saucepan, and adding the cinnamon stick and lemon rind to it. This mixture was brought to a gentle simmer.

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The other two cups of milk are in a non-reactive bowl. The sugar and egg yolks have just been added & they will be thoroughly mixed.


Meanwhile the other 2 cups of milk were poured into a nonreactive bowl together with the egg yolks and sugar. My egg separator made quick work of separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. The yolks were thoroughly whipped before heading to the bowl to join the milk and sugar. It took about 15 minutes using gentle heat to get the pan of milk to come to that gentle simmer. I then pulled the pan off the heat, and added the bowl with the additional milk, egg yolks, and sugar. These were all thoroughly mixed together and the pan was returned to the gentle heat, where it was once again brought to a gentle simmer, but not a boil. One of the signs that the pan was ready to come to a simmer, was that it began to smell a little bit like custard.

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The first pan of milk has come to a simmer. The milk, egg yolks & sugar have been added from the bowl & the pan is back on the heat (left). The ingredients have come to gentle simmer(right).


Once the pan had achieved its gentle simmer, I pulled the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, I fished around and removed the cinnamon stick and the lemon rind from liquid. Then I poured the contents of the pan into a 1 1/2 quart Pyrex bowl with snug plastic cover. I allowed the ice cream to cool for about 90 minutes, before putting on the cover and placing the bowl in the freezer.

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The mixture will cool for about 90 minutes before the dish is covered & goes into the freezer.


That was it! Total time from start to finish: About 45 minutes. The next day, I pulled the ice cream out of the freezer about 30 minutes before I was ready to serve it. My freezer tends to run cold and I wanted the ice cream to thaw out and soften a little bit. Two reasons for this: First if it had softened, when I served it I could get nice round balls using the ice cream scoop. Secondly I've also discovered that items that are too cold tend to have less flavor, so I wanted to let it warm up a little bit. I recently discovered really, really cold foods don't have as much flavor as they do when they've warmed up a little bit. It must freeze your taste buds somewhat when the food is too cold.

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The ice cream has softened & is ready to serve. The tight fitting lid kept out any ice crystals that might have tried to form.


When I went to serve the ice cream, I found that the warm-up time had allowed the ice cream to soften up so that it was indeed possible to get nice round balls using the ice cream scoop. After I had scooped the ice cream into four bowls, I topped it with a little freshly grated cinnamon and garnished it with mint leaves. When I brought the bowls out to the table, everybody commented on what big servings I had dished out. Then when people started eating the ice cream, I never heard any additional complaints about the serving size. Everybody, including myself, absolutely loved this ice cream. It had a nice taste of cinnamon and surprisingly you could even taste some lemon flavor from the lemon rind. The ice cream also reminded me of French vanilla ice cream, no doubt from the egg yolks used in the ice cream.

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The ice cream had softened enough to scoop out easily.


The recipe software that I use on my computer, has a place where you can give the item a star rating ranging from 1 to 5 stars. Earlier during the main meal, I was asked what I would give the gazpacho and paella. When I responded 4 stars each, people began complaining that I never give things five-star ratings. Later during dessert, I volunteered that this ice cream would rate 5 stars from me. This was simply some of the best ice cream I've ever had. Everyone who tried it is asking me to make it for their birthday and I'll probably make it on my own birthday as well. This wonderful dessert is certainly easy enough to make, that you don't have to wait for special occasions to make it. In fact any occasion for which you do make it, will become special because of this great ice cream!

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