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Cinnamon Ice Cream (Saigon Cinnamon)

Exceptionally fragrant, Saigon cinnamon is considered the finest and most flavorful cinnamon in the world. Here, it imparts delicate floral notes and a warm, spicy-sweet taste to ice cream. Delicious on its own, the ice cream makes a wonderful accompaniment to apple pie.


  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, seeds removed, pod and seeds reserved
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the half-and-half, cream, vanilla bean pod, vanilla seeds and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Whisk vigorously until the mixture doubles in volume, about 2 minutes.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. While whisking, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes; do not allow the custard to boil.

Immediately strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water and stir occasionally until cool. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and place a piece of parchment or waxed paper directly on the surface. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Makes about 1 quart.

Adapted from a recipe by Williams-Sonoma.