CINNAMON GELATO…the “yin” to your Thanksgiving pie’s “yang”!
Thanksgiving Break! Thanksgiving Break! Two words could not have been more happily uttered from my mouth! This family was in need of a much needed break and we were planning on spending our break at the family cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin. In order for this “break” to happen this momma needed to place herself in high gear for about a week until we left. There was the laundry and the packing for 6 people, the cleaning of the entire house in case we had a showing (did I mention our house is on the market?), the lugging of the kids to all their last minute activities….and on top of this all my husband was in the midst of contract negotiations for a new job. Whew!!!! I am getting tired all over again just thinking about we had to do just to get out of this house for Thanksgiving Break!!! There was also the cookies that had to be made, the cakes that had to be baked…and did I mention the Cinnamon Gelato?!?!?
Thanksgiving comes with the making and the cooking of so many good traditional foods. You’ve got the stuffing, the green bean casserole, the corn casserole, the corn muffins, the mashed potatoes, the gravy, the turkey…the list could go on and on. Then comes the desserts! My sister n law is pie maker up at the cabin and man did she go all out this Thanksgiving. She made two different kinds of apple pies, a pumpkin pecan pie, a praline cheesecake, and mini chocolate peanut butter pies. I decided to make a Cinnamon Gelato to accompany all these scrumptious pies! I did not want to be in the way of the pie making and the Thanksgiving meal preparation while I tempered my eggs and concocted this creamy goodness. I decided to make the base of my gelato at home and funneled it all into a Tupperware pitcher. We lugged it up in a cooler along with the other 5 tons of cabin stuff. It was really worth it though because I was able to bring a hand turned ice-cream/gelato maker and have all the kids take turns turning the gelato. It was really cute, because they were a part of the Thanksgiving meal/dessert preparation and it was something we did as a family.
Let’s talk more about this cinnamon bowl of heaven we call gelato! Gelato is a less dense version of ice-cream. It is not as “heavy” as it uses more milk and less heavy cream. Gelato…I might add also comes from Italy which in my biased opinion has the best food/desserts in the world. I found this recipe on The Baker Chick Blog of which she had slightly adapted it from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto. I in turn had to adapt it slightly myself. Instead of adding all ground cinnamon for the flavoring of the gelato, I decided to infuse a couple of whole cinnamon sticks into the my milk and egg mixture while simmering. The cinnamon flavor is developed in its natural form this way and stands out like it is meant to in this dessert. Honestly, I could eat this every day, all day! I could eat it on top of pumpkin pie, apple pie, coffee cake, by itself…heck it is so good you could top of your turkey with it!
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- In a heavy bottom saucepan add the milk, cream and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally so a skin does not form. Cook until the mixture comes to a bit of a simmer with bubbles forming around the edges, but do not boil.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together until creamy and smooth. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring the milk in a bit at a time in a slow stream, whisking the whole time. Continue doing this until all the milk has been whisked into sugar/egg mixture.
- Return the custard mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough that it coats the back of the spoon. This will take at least 15 minutes. Never bring the mixture to a boil You will know when it is thick enough when you run your finger down the back of the spoon and it will leave a line.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes. Once mixture has completely cooled stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
- Store in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Once chilled place in a ice-cream maker and churn according to directions. Store in an airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.