I am going to go out on a limb and say something that might be slightly controversial, but I just can’t with the whole pumpkin spice thing. Everything does not need to be pumpkin flavored just because its fall and the amount of things that are now is verging on ridiculous. Pumpkin pie is great, I am sure that those pumpkin spiced lattes are worth the frenzy but pumpkin flavored beer does not need to exist. You can now also buy pumpkin pie vodka, pumpkin spice kale chips, pumpkin spice potato chips and I don’t even want to know about pumpkin spice condoms. I think maybe, just maybe, we have gone a little too far.
To me pumpkin is not the only flavor of fall; I much perfect the warm spice of cinnamon. Now maybe it’s not trendy enough to warrant a laundry list of cinnamon flavored items, but some things are a classic for a reason. Classics don’t need to trends or memes or even condoms and this cinnamon gelato is so much better than any of that. It’s warming and cooling all at the same time, it’s a prefect fall dessert, cool and refreshing after a hearty meal but with that warm spice of the cinnamon. Serve it with your favorite cookie, perhaps an oatmeal one that also prominently features cinnamon, and you’re pretty much set.
So what exactly should you drink with this? Well that is where things get tricky. Dessert in general is hard to pair with wine but ice cream particularly so. A cold, melty and sweet cream is not exactly wines perfect partner but there a couple of different ways you could go with this. This is ice cream, there is sugar in there it is definitely sweet but the spice of the cinnamon provides a nice balance so this doesn’t verge into saccharine territory, which means this would be lovely with a nice tawny port or Pedro Ximenez Sherry, fortified wines that have a good amount of alcohol and still a good amount of residual sugar. This could also be great with a sparkling wine, perhaps a demi-sec that has a little higher sugar content than a brut. You could also even pair this with a big Paso Robles Zinfandel or one of those Australian Shiraz that is so massive and chocolaty that it feels like a dessert unto itself. The main point in pairing with this is that you have to make sure the sweetness level of the wine matches the sweetness level of the ice cream otherwise the wine is going to taste flat.
Adapted from Leite’s Cullinaria (When I was studying abroad in Rome during college I ate a lot of gelato, sometimes three times a day– don’t judge me it was worth it. Cinnamon gelato was by far my favorite choice and while this is certainly not the same as Rome, her recipe comes as close as I have found so far.)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
In a saucepan over medium low heat combine the milk and cream and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form on the surface. Cook until the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F on a candy thermometer
Meanwhile, in a heat proof bowl whisk the egg yolks until slightly frothy and light yellow. Then mix in the sugar until the mixture thickens and all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar and eggs have been incorporated, very slowly stream in the heated cream mixture, stirring the entire time. You want to do this slowly so the eggs come up to temperature slowly and the heat from the cream doesn’t scramble them.
Return the custard to that saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches a temperature of 185°F and can coat the back of spoon. Be careful to make sure it never comes to a boil.
Next pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer to make sure it is totally smooth and allow to cool to room temperature stirring every so often. Once it is completely cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Once you are ready to make the ice cream remove the custard from the fridge and stir in the vanilla and the cinnamon. Then pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to your models instructions. Transfer to an air tight container and cool in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.