In The Kitchen: Spiced Cream

Last week I posted an Instagram photo while I was making iced cream and a few of you asked for the recipe, so I'm happily obliging today.

A few years back, shortly after my mister and I were married, I started working on a new business- an iced cream shop. I spent months and months creating and testing recipes, looking at spaces in our Seattle neighborhood, searching for used equipment and all the other work that goes into opening a small business. We even held a big iced cream social (our shop was going to be called 'Social') that also served as a tasting party where I gathered feedback from our friends. Though a variety of things ended up getting in the way of my iced cream shop plans, those months at least left me with a great collection of original iced cream recipes. Today's flavor- Spiced Cream- is my mister's favorite and I think it's a great choice for this time of the year. The spices and vanilla have a warmth reminiscent of masala chai that can make even the gloomiest winter day a bit better, but for those of us in warmer climates, it's still a refreshing treat on a sunny day.

For a 2 qt. batch you'll need:

3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c. whole milk
9 large egg yolks
1 c. sugar (this is one of the few recipes I use baker's sugar for rather than evaporated cane juice)
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1/4 t. each ginger, clove, cardamom, allspice
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper (if you're feeling adventurous)
(These spice measurements are a good starting point, but you can add more to taste).

Bring cream, milk, vanilla and spices to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. In the meantime, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until thick.

Once the cream mixture is simmering (small bubbles will appear across the surface), remove from heat and slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture. I like to 'temper' the mixture by quickly whisking about 1/4 cup of the cream into the eggs before adding the rest.

Return mixture to saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until it reaches 178°F (about 5 minutes). Immediately remove from heat. The temperature is very important so the easiest way to ensure you don't scald the mixture is to keep a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan, making sure the tip doesn't touch the bottom or side of the pan. If you have a digital thermometer, you can set it to monitor the temp and beep when it's reached 178°.

Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and and strain the iced cream base into the bowl. Place bowl inside a larger bowl and surround with ice. Add water to create an ice bath and place the bowls in the fridge. Stir periodically until the mixture has chilled completely.

Once chilled, freeze the iced cream base in your iced cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. (We have the Cuisinart 2 qt maker and for an affordable home machine I think it's wonderful).

After the iced cream maker has done it's job, transfer the iced cream to a freezer safe container and freeze until it's at your preferred consistency- 2 hours is usually perfect. Serve and enjoy! If you're looking for a slightly fancier dessert, homemade gingersnaps make a great companion to the spicy flavors of the iced cream.

A few notes:

- You can try making this low fat by using lower fat milk, but I can't attest to the results. It will likely not be as creamy and smooth.

-Homemade iced cream, without all the preservatives and stabilizers of many store bought brands, melts much faster, so you'll want to serve it right before it will be eaten for best consistency.

-This recipe is a great base for other iced cream flavors, just omit the spices and add other ingredients.

Once you try this recipe at home, let me know what you think! I'd also love to hear your ideas for any additions or substitutions.