Operatic in her stateliness, intoxicating in her sexuality, and entrepreneurial in her politics, I have recently become utterly enthralled with Cleopatra.  My obsession began with Cleopatra: A Life, the latest from Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff.  The biography endeavors to dispel the myths surrounding the captivating Queen of the Nile.  Schiff’s version of the storied queen is more nuanced than Liz Taylor’s decadent portrayal, and more compelling than Shakespeare’s tragic depiction.  Tellingly, the author surmises that Cleopatra had as “great a capacity for work as for play and rarely distinguished between the two.”  A girl after my own heart.


In perusing articles about my newly-anointed favorite, I came across tales of Cleopatra’s affinity for honey.  Under their famous femme, the Egyptians deemed honey the ultimate gift to proffer at the feet of the Gods.  So too did Cleo’s on-again off-again paramour, Caesar, consider the “liquid gold” a priceless commodity during his Roman reign.  And I’m sure its glittering metallic hue is no accident.

In order to pay my respects to the dulcet antiquity, while satisfying my hunger for all things Cleopatra, I concocted a recipe befitting the Queen: honey cinnamon ice cream.  The dessert is equal parts sweet and spicy, much like Cleopatra herself. The spicy cinnamon marries deliciously with the floral tones of the wild honey.  To complement the intensity, I employed a custard base, which provide a rich and velvety texture.  The resulting ice cream is scrumptious enough to satisfy even the most discerning of royal palates I suspect that the illustrious Queen herself would have relished a mischievous spoonful (or two) between milk baths and empire devastation.  xx tt


recipe BOX: Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream


·  1.5 cups Strauss Family Creamery half and half   

·  1.5 cups Strauss Family Creamery whipping cream

·  4 large organic egg yolks

·  2/3 cup organic honey of your choice

·  1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

·  1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

·  1 tablespoon cinnamon oil

·  Fresh blackberries for topping (optional)


·  Whisk together eggs, honey, cinnamon, cinnamon oil, and salt in medium bowl; set aside 

·  Pour cream into a large bowl with a sieve on top 

·  In a medium saucepan, bring half-and-half to a full simmer 

·  Slowly add ½ cup of the simmering cream mix to the egg-honey mixture while whisking  

·  Return the egg and cream mixture to the saucepan 

·  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough to coat a spoon 

·  Strain into a clean bowl and allow steam to escape before covering and chilling until cold (at least 3 hours and up to 1 day) 

·  Process custard in ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions


tool BOX: try this for making flawless batches of your favorite frozen confection, sans the extra freezing time required by KitchenAid and Cuisinart models


t+t for the TABLE: spoon your Cleopatra-inspired ice cream into this Michael Wainwright 22-kt. gilded china set


t+t HOLLYWOOD: Sony Pictures and David Fincher, of Social Network + Fight Club fame, are in talks to turn Schiff’s best-seller into a film starring Ms. Jolie-Pitt. Perhaps I’ll send her a pint of my Honey Cinnamon parfait to help her get into character…