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December 13, 2006

Holiday Spice Cream

Horrible pun, I know. I'm sorry.

Given today's post, we're now midway through what is apparently the month of beef stands and old Iron Chef recipes. With the holidays around the corner, I figured it was time to bust this one out. I know ice creams aren't typically regarded as cold weather fare, but the flavors say December to me. I threw this one together for the inaugural Iron Chef back around Christmas 2000. The ingredient was orange, hence the Grand Marnier, but ransacking the liquor cabinet would, I'm sure, turn up more than a few libations that would also pair well with the spices. For some reason, prevailing opinion among many seems to be that ice cream is difficult to make, but I'm at a loss to understand why. Quick and easy, this one.

Dominic Armato
3 C. heavy cream
1 C. whole milk
¾ C. sugar
4 egg yolks
6 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tsp. whole cloves
10 whole star anise
Grand Marnier

Holiday Spice Cream with
Grand Marnier
Makes 1 quart

To start off, combine the cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat and warm, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not let the mixture boil. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, give the egg yolks a quick, light whisk. Then, while continuing to whisk the yolks, slowly add about one cup of the hot cream mixture, one tablespoon at a time. This is called tempering, and it's done to slowly warm the yolks so that they don't immediately scramble when you add them to the hot liquid. If you add the cream too quickly and the yolks scramble... well... you're pretty much hosed. Better start again. At any rate, once you've added about a cup of the cream mixture and the yolks are duly warmed, slowly add the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking to combine.

Add the cinnamon in both forms, the cloves and the star anise. Continue heating the mixture (no boiling!) for about 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it starts to smell appropriately Christmas-ey and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and allow it to cool. Then, either run it through a strainer or just pick out the cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise.

Then, freeze the mixture as directed for your ice cream maker. Unless you're using a self-refrigerating machine, it'll help immensely if you stick the cream in the fridge for a while to chill first. Once frozen, you can eat it nice and soft, or transfer it to a tub and move it to the freezer to harden. Either way, scoop it out, drizzle a little Grand Marnier (or your booze of choice) over the top and serve it up.


For the record, I'd like to disagree with the prevailing opinion on difficulty. My husband Jim has made it numerous times and the most difficult thing about this recipe is picking all of the cloves out of the thickened mixture. Otherwise, piece of cake.

... very tasty too. We've made it at least 5 times in the past few years.

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