That Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake I made last week was so easy and delicious that I’ve made another one already! The surprising and somewhat unexpected reason why it has been such a winner around here however, is the fact that it doesn’t call for cinnamon. You see, cinnamon is not something my entire family agrees on and probably never will. Its not like we come to blows over it but my Persian in-laws just don’t think of it as the fall/winter dessert treat that we more Anglo types do. In their neck of the woods cinnamon is more commonly used as an ingredient in savory dishes such as Loubia Polo, a tomato cooked rice with beef and green beans. Without the presence of sugar (and perhaps nutmeg) cinnamon takes on a nearl completely different and exotic flavor profile. The Persian palate just doesn’t connect to cinnamon at dessert time. (Doost na daraand!) As far as we’re concerned here in Western Culture, the spice is the hallmark of so many fall desserts and apple dishes in particular that it is hard to think of any apple dessert without it. I stopped making desserts with cinnamon in the interest of family harmony and that pretty much wiped out the apple repertoire. Enter: Marie-Hélène.
Many of my fellow Dorista’s (the name I coined for those of us committed to either baking or cooking our way through her various books) resolved their cognitive dissonance over the cake’s lack of cinnamon by just, well, adding it into the recipe anyway! Some of them even added a dash cinnamon’s fall cousin, nutmeg and a crumble! I personally thought these well meaning Doristas were missing the whole point of this dessert’s simple appeal. Then I read of one Dorista’s more elegant solution: serve it with a scoop of David Lebovitz’ cinnamon ice cream ! I knew immediately that I had to make not only a batch of this but also another one of Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cakes to accompany it. Everyone could have what they wanted once again! And I did witness my mother-in-law pushing the scoop off her plate to a willing receiver seeking seconds! Family harmony once again!
Cinnamon Ice Cream
(Adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop )
This is what you will need:
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cup of whole milk
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1.5 cups of heavy cream
- 5 egg yolks
This is how you make it:
- Toast the cinnamon to bring out its flavor by putting it small, dry nonstick skillet, over low heat. Keep the skillet moving just until the cinnamon becomes fragrant. Take off heat to avoid burning the cinnamon).
- Warm the milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon and 3/4 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan
- over medium heat whisking until cinnamon is incorporated the cinnamon into the liquid.
- While milk mixture warms set a bowl over another bowl filled with ice and place the remaining cup of cream into the now chilling bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. You will be adding the cooked custard to this later.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks then slowly pour the warm milk mixture into
- the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid the eggs scrambling. When completed, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon or heat proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir. The custard is done when it becomes thick and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run.
- Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream. Stir until chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator before placing in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The modifications I made to David’s’ recipe were to accommodate for my only having one cinnamon stick (which I needed for garnish!) but a ton of ground cinnamon on hand. Also, I’ve found that I prefer the cooked custard recipes in his book a little less yolky and creamy than his.