Horchata Ice Cream

The first bite of this horchata-inspired ice cream will remind you of traditional agua fresca, the second will make you forget the other flavors, and, well, it won’t take long for you to get to the last bite. Made in the traditional Mexican style—from rice, almonds, and cinnamon—it’s everything we want between two snickerdoodles or after a taco al pastor—or anything, really.


  • 3 tablespoons long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 egg yolks


Using a spice or coffee grinder, blitz the rice until it resembles a fine powder. In a bowl, stir together the rice powder, almonds, cinnamon stick, and 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Cover and let stand overnight.

Discard the cinnamon stick. Blend the rice mixture with 1 cup cold water until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a nut-milk bag or a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of the horchata into a pot (chill leftovers to drink). Add the heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the milk powder, and cinnamon and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk the heavy cream mixture into the yolks.

Pour the cream-yolk mixture back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the base thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass the base through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Chill completely for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight.

Pour the chilled base into an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The Anatomy of a Sundae

Despite common practice, throwing every sweet thing on top of ice cream is not going to get you a good sundae. Instead, practice restraint. For the sauce, consider chocolate sauce or ganache, caramel, butterscotch, or jam. Your creamy topping might be whipped cream, marshmallow fluff, or meringue. And the extra-special toppings can be anything from sprinkles to chopped and roasted nuts, fresh fruit, cereal, candy pieces, or chocolate chips. If you have sundae boats, you’re probably already a pro at this sundae thing. For everyone else, get out a bowl or whiskey glasses. Start with an ice cream or two, then add sauce. Next the extra toppings, interspersed with the creamy topper. Then, go at it—unrestrained.

Recipe adapted from Food52.


Makes about 1 quart