Today is the first full day of summer. That has me thinking about ice cream.
Next week is the first week Kansas City will be blessed with the opening of Port Fonda, the restaurant. That has me thinking about horchata.
For those not in the know, horchata is a nutty rice drink served in Mexico and throughout Latin America. There are tons of varieties but each one I’ve encountered has been refreshingly perfect for a hot summer day, or evening.
Last summer, during one of our two amazing dinners in the Port Fonda Airstream trailer, chef Patrick Ryan served up delicious ricotta donuts with a dulce de leche sauce and some fresh berries. The dessert was amazing. It wasn’t long before I recreated the dish at home, but I knew my skills are a little below that of the Port Fonda crew so I decided to add a little of my own touch to the dish — my homemade horchata ice cream. The ice cream is great alone and will improve any warm afternoon.
Assemble these ingredients and follow the directions below:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
6 eggs yolks
1 cup rice
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
To start, I place a cup of rice, two cinnamon sticks and 1/4 cup of slivered almonds in a Le Creuset dutch oven and bring to a medium heat. The idea here is toast the ingredients until your house begins to smell like amazing. When you smell all that amazing, add one cup of the cream and one cup of half and half and gently stir as everything warms up (make sure you save one cup of the heavy whipping cream for later). Once you begin to see bubbles remove from heat, add the vanilla bean to the mix, and let the flavors steep for about a half hour.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they become incorporated and look like yellow frosting. Set aside.
Strain the milk mixture to remove all of the rice, almonds, cinnamon and vanilla bean pod (but definitely scrape the insides of the pod so you will have those beautiful little black vanilla specks) and reheat until you again begin to see bubbles.While whisking the eggs, slowly pour a few ounces of the warmed milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs. Continue to whisk and pour until you have emptied the milk mixture into the bowl.
Pour the whole thing back in the Le Creuset and bring to about 160 degrees (some disagree with me here and believe ice creams should be brought to 180 – to be honest, as long as you don’t scramble the eggs you can’t go wrong so just make sure you keep whisking throughout). Quickly remove from the warm pan and add the remaining cup of cold cream to lower the temp. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours or over night and then follow the directions of your ice cream maker.
This ice cream is amazing alone, but goes great with lots of different sauces (the aforementioned dulce de leche, caramel, any variety of chocolate) or add some rum or clear tequila for an adult milkshake.
Happy Summer, Kansas City!