Horchata Ice Cream Recipe

Photograph: Max Falkowitz

This ice cream is especially creamy thanks to the rice starch that infuses into the base. It's worth the effort to seek out canela, Mexican or "true" cinnamon, which has a gentler, fruitier flavor than more common cassia bark. Canela can be identified by its matte tan color, thin, papery bark, and citrusy aroma. More about it here.

Recipe Facts

Active: 45 mins
Total: 14 hrs
Makes: 3 cups

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  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 1 3-inch long cinnamon stick (canela; see note)
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a heavy medium saucepan, toast almonds, rice, and cinnamon on high heat, tossing frequently, until almonds begin to smell aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half and half, stir to combine, and bring to a bare simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for two hours.

  2. In a second saucepan, whisk together sugar and egg yolks until well combined and slightly thickened.

  3. Using a fine mesh strainer or a couple layers of cheesecloth, strain dairy mixture into a large measuring cup or bowl. Press down firmly on rice with a wooden spoon to release as much dairy and rice starch as possible. Strained dairy should yield about 2 1/2 cups. Discard rice and almonds.

  4. Transfer strained dairy to saucepan with egg yolks and sugar and whisk until very well combined. Put saucepan on medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until a custard forms on the back of a spoon and a swiped finger leaves a clean line. Stir in vanilla, then salt to taste.

  5. Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container and chill overnight. The next day, churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to container and chill in freezer for at least 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Special equipment

ice cream maker, cheese cloth (optional)

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