The world of ice cream possibilities is vast and creative, but among all that bounty, I love frozen custard the most. It’s richer and smoother than any other ice cream. That extra indulgence comes courtesy of lots of fat and egg yolks in the custard. The super silky and creamy custard pairs beautifully with the gentle sweetness and warmth of cinnamon. You get a double dose here from infusing the custard with a cinnamon stick and then stirring in ground cinnamon at the end. The result is Cinnamon Frozen Custard; wonderful in a bowl, on a cone, or accompanying any number of fall or winter desserts. One bite and my hubby declared, “This BELONGS on an apple crisp!” While he is undoubtedly spot on, and my plans for the immediate future include making myself a single serve apple crisp and hiding in my bedroom with a dollop of Cinnamon Frozen Custard on it, my first move was to put it between two Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies after my friend Mary suggested it.
What can I possibly say about these except Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuunghhhh. *thud* There’s very little doubt in my mind that this isn’t a Weight Watchers/Paleo/Atkins/South Beach/diet-of-the-year approved recipe, but, oh, how divine it is…
I know it may sound like a whole lot of work (making a custard, chilling, freezing, making a batch of cookies, cooling them, successfully not eating them all…) for one little ice cream sandwich, but I tell you it is worth it.
- I think of the method for making this as a ‘cheater custard method’. Generally speaking, when making a French style custard, you bring the dairy and sugar to a simmer, scoop some into beaten egg yolks, then pour the partially heated eggs back into the hot milk and whisk like the dickens to keep it from curdling while bringing it up to temperature. I like my way better. It’s one less dirty dish and a whole lot less transferring back and forth between pots and bowls and whatnot and it works every bit as well.
- That temperature to which I just referred? Custard needs to be brought to between 170°F and 185°F to be considered done. I prefer to be closer to 185°F because it yields a thicker custard which in turn churns into a silkier frozen custard.
- I use an instant read thermometer (THIS one is what I have, but there are also less expensive versions...) because it is a foolproof way to know exactly when your custard is done, but if you don’t have one handy, you can use the time honoured spoon test. To do this, dip a clean spoon into the mixture and hold it up to let it cool slightly, then draw your finger down the back of the spoon to clear a line of custard. If the line stays clearly defined, it is ready. If it runs back in and doesn’t show a clear line, it needs a little more cooking.
- There’s no getting around it; you’re going to have to let the custard base cool before you churn it or you’ll end up with tepid custard soup. The best way to do this is to let it cool slowly in the refrigerator. That’ll take a couple of hours at the minimum. If you’re impatient (like MOI), you can speed things along a bit by putting your bowl of custard inside a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water. Whisk it gently to keep the heat moving out of the bowl, and you’ll have a custard base that is pretty well chilled much more quickly. I won’t tattle if you take the short cut.
- When you’re done churning the frozen custard, you can either eat it immediately like a soft serve or transfer it to a container, pack it, smooth it, and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, then add another lid if you have one. Put the frozen custard in the freezer to ripen (in other words: harden) for a couple hours if you’d like to scoop it into bowls, onto cones, or between cookies.
Adapted from and with thanks to Barefeet in the Kitchen
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two pieces
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, vanilla caviar scraped, pod reserved
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups heavy cream
- In a 2 to 3 quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until fully combined and lightened in colour. Whisk in the milk until smooth and even in colour. Add the cinnamon stick, the vanilla bean pod and scraped caviar, and sea salt.
- Place the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly, taking care to cover the whole bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, until the mixture reaches 185°F on an instant read thermometer. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, a good way to test the mixture is to dip a clean spoon into the mixture and hold it up to let it cool slightly, then draw your finger down the back of the spoon to clear a line of custard. If the line stays clearly defined, it is ready. If it runs back in and doesn’t show a clear line, it needs a little more cooking. Remove the pan from the heat when it hits this stage
- Pour the heavy cream into a heat-safe bowl and position a fine mesh strainer over it. Add the cinnamon to the strainer and use a spoon to push it through the strainer into the heavy cream. This prevents any clumps of cinnamon. Next, pour the custard base through the strainer. This will catch any accidental ‘scrambling’ you may have done of the egg yolks and prevent it from being in your final frozen custard in addition to straining out the vanilla bean pod and cinnamon stick pieces. Stir the mixture well, cover, and chill until the mixture reaches 40°F, usually 6 hours to overnight. You can speed this process by putting the bowl of custard inside another bowl filled with ice water and stirring, but this will still probably take an hour or two to bring it down to the proper temperature.
- After the custard is thoroughly chilled, stir well and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. This recipe yields approximately 1 1/2 quarts to 2 quarts of Cinnamon Frozen Custard.