Horchata Ice Cream with a little Cinnamon

With summer winding down, or the temps at least dropping into the 80’s, ice cream season is approaching a close. With that in mind and with apple/pear season still a ways away, new flavors would not be fruit based. Earlier in the summer, there seemed to be horchata fever in Chicago and while I did not catch it then, I thought that horchata ice cream would be an interesting twist.

Something that I did not realize until making this ice cream is that typically, despite the creamy appearance, there is no dairy in horchata. It is a mixture of rice, cinnamon, sugar, and sometimes almonds, vanilla, or other nuts. This would explain the gritty, not creamy, texture of horchata, but that would make a lousy ice cream.

The base of the ice cream is the same as most, cream and eggs. I have been going egg free for ice cream in the summer, using sour cream instead, but I wanted to fortify this recipe a little without adding the sour component. I adapted Rick Bayless’s Horchata recipe from Mexico: One Plate at a Time.

After soaking the rice, almonds in warmed milk overnight, I blended the mixture and pressed the liquid through a strainer. No matter how hard you push, you only get about 2/3 of the amount of liquid you started with in the strainer, so adjust accordingly. Not to mention, take your time with this step, the resulting dregs should be dry and gritty. If you stop short, you are not going to get the same horchata flavor in the ice cream.

Horchata ice cream is not a powerhouse ice cream just as horchata is not a powerhouse of a drink. It takes well to cream and has a little bit of a oatmeal cookie mixed with an almond biscotti flavor. The grittiness has been reduced through straining like a madman, but there is still enough texture to remind you what it is. The cinnamon is a requirement.  I realize that I did not use canela, but rather Vietnamese cassia, but whatever you have on hand, right?

Horchata Ice Cream

  • 30 grams rice
  • 30 grams almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1  cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks

Step one: Heat milk and 1/2 cup of cream to a simmer pour into fridge safe bowl over rice, almonds, and cinnamon stick. Cover and let chill overnight.

Step two: Blend mixture thoroughly and press through a strainer. Add sugar.

Step three: Heat one cup of the cream and horchata base and just before a boil, spoon some mixture into the egg yolks to temper them and then add the entire egg mixture to the horchata/cream mixture. Whisk and heat.

Step four: When this coats the back of a spoon, pour through a strainer into a chilled bowl with the remaining heavy cream. Chill this mixture overnight.

Step five: Churn using the instructions on your ice cream maker.