She also uses cinnamon in breakfast pastries, including morning
buns, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon toast—not to be confused
with French toast, a breakfast staple of Gand’s childhood. Her
grownup batter is a combo of milk, cream, egg, salt, sugar, vanilla
Gand includes cinnamon in apple pie, pumpkin pie and ice
cream. Noting that cinnamon can have some heat to it, especially
Sri Lankan and Vietnamese varieties, she suggests calming the heat
with a bit of butterfat. Cinnamon also combines well with custard,
bread pudding and creme brulee. “It blends well and is complemented
by a bit of warmth from the fat in custard,” Gand says.
Cinnamon sticks also play a warming role in cinnamon
milk—cow’s milk warmed with a cinnamon stick and honey.
And, says Gand, Mexican hot chocolate should be finished with
a cinnamon stick.
To end a meal whimsically, Gand presents complimentary
cinnamon lollypops. “We add cinnamon to cooked sugar, so it’s
transparent with specks of brown visible. You can use a cinnamon stick as the lolly stick to give an indication, a clue, as to
what they’re about to taste.”
Elise Wiggins, executive chef at Panzano, Denver, grew up in
the South and remembers family gatherings and food, especially
Northern Italian dishes. To this day, cinnamon reminds her of
family, she says. “It’s warm and inviting.”
One of her favorite dishes—and one of Panzano’s most popular
items—is pastiche. It begins with a layer of three-cheese tortellini
followed by spicy handmade meatballs, wild boar ragoût, a thin layer
of cinnamon custard and grated Parmesan. “After that grated
Parmesan layer, we’ll put it up in the salamander to caramelize, then,
as the final thing, we add a Parmesan/thyme piecrust,” Wiggins says.
The cinnamon custard is made fresh every day and kept
warm in a double boiler to be ladled out as needed. “People are
always surprised by the cinnamon,” she says.
Elsewhere on the Panzano menu, Wiggins adds cinnamon to
her classic Bolognese. It’s also included in braised dishes, such as
lamb shank, to add depth. “Cinnamon gives that warm feeling you
get from a slow-braised cut of meat,” she says.
Gary Patterson II, CEC, principal research chef/executive
chef, McCormick For Chefs, Hunt Valley, Maryland, has a lot
going on with cinnamon. It’s primarily Saigon/Vietnamese cinnamon, with its distinct red-hot flavor, as well as Indonesian korintje
cinnamon, which is slightly less sweet and slightly more woodsy
He has developed several recipes with cinnamon, including
red tea/cinnamon rubbed pulled pork sandwich with plum glaze;
roasted pork tenderloin with cinnamon/plum stuffing; and red
tea-smoked sea bass with cinnamon caramelized plums.
For the sea bass recipe, Patterson marinated sea bass in a soy/
red bush tea mixture. “Smoking in an oven with tea, rice and
sugar is an old-world technique,” he says. “It took some doing to
figure out how to smoke it—to smolder with an acrid flavor of
burnt sugar. We finished it with caramelized cinnamon-spiced
plum.” Ground cinnamon is tossed on with croutons and skin-on
plum wedges. The sea bass, covered with foil in a cast-iron skillet,
is set on a wire rack above the smoking ingredients. It’s smoked at
450ºF for 30 minutes.
Patterson is mindful of his responsibility to encourage and
help chefs dig deeper in using culinary spices as that secret
ingredient to create, he says, “a point of differentiation that
makes us more interesting than the next restaurant, while being
mindful of the need to reduce fat, sodium and sugar. Cinnamon
can always be that secret ingredient that makes your recipes
“And be sure to serve cinnamon toast. It’s a trend I’ve seen
growing throughout the country, and it’s so reminiscent of fall.”
Ne W yORk-BASeD A WARD- WiNNiNG JOURNALiS T k AReN WeiSBeRG HAS COveReD THe iSSUeS AND
LUMiNARie S OF THe FOOD-AND-BeveRAGe WORLD—BO TH COMMeRCiAL AND NONCOMMeRCiAL—
FOR MORe THAN 25 ye ARS.
in the pantry cinnamon
left: red tea-smoked sea bass with cinnamon caramelized plums was developed by
gary patterson for Mccormick for chefs.
right: baked apple/cinnamon french toast from Gale Gand.