Having dazzled all and sundry with my gorgeous Cranberry & Port Sorbet, there was a bit of a problem. What to make next? It seemed that everyone had an opinion and to complicate the matter, I had about 4 different recipe books to be explored.
But, once we got past the tears and recriminations (it being Christmas after all), we had settled on something everyone could enjoy that was also festive - Cinnamon Ice Cream.
Next issue, how to make the custard base. It seems that every recipe book has at least 2 different recipes for the custard base - none of which agree with each other. The problem, I think, stems from the fact that different people like different things from their ice cream base. Some like it swet, some like it to be a blank palette upon which they can paint with the flavours of their ingredients. Another factor to consider is the consistency that you are looking for which will be dictated by the amount of dairy fat in your ingredients.
In other words, it's an art as well as a science.
In the end I threw caution to the wind and came up with my own recipe.
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup single cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
So, I put the milk into a small saucepan, brought it to the boil, then cut the heat and put the cinnamon sticks in to infuse as it cooled. Unfortunately, after much searching through our ridiculously huge amount of spices (and a few muttered imprecations about the perfidy of men), I managed to find some ancient cinnamon sticks. They were by no means at their best but were still within date. I used three 6 inch sticks but if you have some decent fresh sticks, 2 should be fine for this recipe.
While the milk was cooling and the cinnamon infusing, I whipped the eggs and sugar until thick and foamy (the colour will change to a pale creamy yellow).
At thispoint, most recipe books say to bring the milk back up to a boil, then add slowly to the egss, whipping all the way. I think that this is a fine way to make scrambled eggs but not so hot for ice cream.
Instead, I removed the cinnamon sticks from the milk, then slowly added the room temp milk to the egg mixture, whipping constantly. Then I added my cream and gave it another whip.
THEN I returned my mix to the pan and heated it over a low flame, stirring constantly. As it reaches the boiling point the custard will thicken so it will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Then take it off the heat.
Pour the mix into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge to cool, then into the ice cream machine.
One surprising thing about this recipe is that it looks just like regular old vanilla ice cream. I can only surmise that commercially available cinnamon ice creams that have flecks in them or are a pale brown are created using either ground cinnamon or food colourings.
Anyway, this recipe creates an incredibly refined and sophisticated ice cream. The only drawback is that this recipe serves 4 genteel guests or 2 gannets. In other words, you may be wise to double the quantities.