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Cinnamon Pecan Ice Cream

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Yields about 1 quart.

  • by David Lebovitz from Fine Cooking
    Issue 99

This ice cream is perfect for topping a slice of pumpkin pie. Try creating your own custom ice cream flavor with the Recipe Maker.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Table salt
  • Two 3- to 4-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into large pieces
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans

In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. 

Stir in the cinnamon sticks. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 1 hour. Taste and let sit longer if you want a stronger flavor.

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with several inches of ice water. Set a smaller metal bowl (one that holds at least 1-1/2 quarts) in the ice water. Pour the remaining cup of cream into the inner bowl (this helps the custard cool quicker when you pour it in later). Set a fine strainer on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. 

Rewarm the cream mixture over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. In a steady stream, pour half of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), 4 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 175° to 180°F at this point. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream in the ice bath. Press firmly on the cinnamon sticks in the strainer with the spatula to extract as much flavor as possible.

Cool the custard to below 70°F by stirring it over the ice bath.

Refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Then freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fold the pecans into the just-churned ice cream, transfer to an air-tight container, and freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Excellent in every way - this is the Cadillac of homemade! I am new to the home ice cream thing and currently into the trial by error process. I DO NOT like the cornstarch method....bizarre end result. I'm very thankful for this website/David Libovitz! However, I will try and tweak a bit....less sugar, lower fat, etc just to suit our nutritional needs. Thanks David!

This is REALLY good on top of apple pie...the perfect combination.

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