Toasty Horchata Ice Cream
1/2 cup white rice, toasted*
2 1/2 cups whole cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1. Pour rice into a blender container and blend until coarsely ground.
2. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until warm and steamy. Do not boil. Add the ground rice and stir. Cover, remove from heat and allow it to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
3. Set a mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth (or use a large coffee filter) over a large bowl. Slowly pour milk/rice mixture through cheesecloth to remove the rice.
4. Add ground cinnamon to rice milk and reheat rice milk until steamy. Meanwhile whisk egg yolks, eggs and sugar in large bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk into the egg/sugar mixture, a ladleful at a time, whisking constantly so egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk instead of cooked by it. Return egg/milk mixture to the saucepan and add a pinch of salt.
5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium-low heat with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula. Sweep a finger across the spatula and when the coating doesn't run, the custard is ready. Remove from heat immediately.
6. Remove cheesecloth from strainer and pour hot custard through the strainer only. Stir in the vanilla.
7. Chill custard thoroughly in the refrigerator, preferably overnight, before freezing in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
* To toast the rice: Pour white rice into a skillet on medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the rice turns golden, about 3 minutes.
Pairs Well With
I'll never forget my introduction to horchata. I was enjoying a plateful of authentic green enchiladas, courtesy of my friend Juana, when I unwittingly bit into a jalapeno pepper.
Seeing my crimson face and the tears streaming down it, Juana came to my rescue with a tall glass of cool horchata. Surprisingly, not only did it douse the fire in my mouth but it soothed my palate with cinnamon and vanilla.
Popular in many parts of the world, horchata seems to have originated during the Middle Ages in Europe and is made of almonds, sesame seeds, tigernuts or barley. Mexican horchata is rice-based and sweetened with brown sugar.
Horchata ice cream owes its silky texture to the naturally occurring starches in rice. This delicate, custard-like treat pairs well with sauteed bananas and salted caramel sauce. Think of it as a Mexican-inspired ice cream sundae: the perfect ending to a spicy feast.