fresh mint ice cream
July 11, 2010 § 12 Comments
I sometimes secretly wish I was one of those Martha Stewart-y types who are just good at life. Not so much because of matching napkin rings and handmade centerpieces, but the useful stuff, like herb gardens. It would be so great to just toss fresh herbs into my meals without spending money on an entire bunch, and then letting the surplus die a horrible death in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, though, I have an alarming inability to keep plants alive. I first discovered this when I bought a houseplant – after that died, I moved on to sturdier specimens, like cactuses. Now I have a dead cactus. I try not to think about what this trait might mean for any future children of mine.
Luckily for me, mint is incredibly tenacious. It’s basically a weed, so I figure if I just stay away from it, it’ll grow. Now it’s overtaken a fair chunk of my backyard, and I have a continuous supply of mint for any of my baking needs. The first thing I’ve used it in is this ice cream, and it was really incredible. It’s very different from storebought mint ice cream – I think it tastes more herbal, both because the mint is fresh, and because it’s spearmint as opposed to the more common peppermint. I folded chocolate in, because I love it, and the crackling bittersweet shards were a great contrast. It’s really a spectacular ice cream and I recommend that you plant some mint just to make it. But if you lack my superior gardening skills, I’m sure the farmer’s market has some that will work just as well.
Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – from The Perfect Scoop
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate. chopped.
In a medium saucepan, gently warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and the salt. Once warm, mix in the mint leaves, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the milk.
Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer, pressing firmly on the leaves to extract as much of their flavour as possible. Rewarm the mixture.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the heated milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, and scraping up the bottom of the pot. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula – if you run your finger through the coating it should leave a line that doesn’t flow back together. Pour the custard through a strainer into the remaining 1 cup of cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath, then refrigerate until cold (preferably overnight).
Put a storage container in the freezer. Freeze the custard an ice cream maker according to its instructions. While it’s churning, gently melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. When the ice cream is ready, quickly layer it in the prepared container, drizzling in the melted chocolate and stirring as you go.
The ice cream is wonderful freshly churned but still very soft, especially if you drizzle in the warm chocolate. It will firm up nicely in the freezer, but I recommend taking it out 5 minutes before you want to eat it to let it soften up again.