Monday, August 6, 2012

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

I love mint in ice cream, but I hate chocolate chips in ice cream. I don't know why there isn't more chip-free mint ice cream when it's not Christmas-time available in stores, but fortunately, my roommate is growing mint. And, so...when it was so hot this weekend we all thought we might melt, I started making ice cream.


I forgot, it seems, about the custard step. After heating milk and cream and then steeping the fresh mint leaves for two hours, it needs to be turned into a custard. Beat egg yolks and sugar while reheating the strained mint cream, and then slowly beat the cream into the egg yolks. Then cook until it coats a spoon.

I chilled the custard overnight. The custard might have been cool enough to freeze after four hours, but the ice cream bowl wasn't frozen, and I find there aren't a many cooking disappointments as listening to your ice cream maker churn for an hour only to find that it's barely at milkshake consistency. I would rather wait an extra day, to make sure everything is cold. (The totally unphotographed maple ice cream I made on vacation was consumed a maple rum milkshakes, because we were all wildly impatient. I recommend maple rum milkshakes enough that I will recreate this someday for the blog.)

And it is delicious. Fresh and light and minty and perfect. Sometimes it will turn green. In fact, every other time I have made this ice cream, the mint leaches green into the milk. I was all nervous that it wasn't going to be minty, since it wasn't green, so I added a generous dollop of vanilla extract, just in case (because vanilla ice cream is always safe.)

Fresh Mint Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
yields about 1 quart of ice cream

1 cup milk (I used 2%, because that is what I have in the fridge)
3/4 c cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves (I understand that I used "citrus" mint for this; I picked it because we had the most of it)
4 egg yolks*

Warm milk, one cup of cream, and the salt. Add mint leaves, cover, and let it for at least two hours. When that's done, remove the mint leaves, and press them in your hands, to extract as much flavor as possible.

Put remaining cup of milk in a pitcher, with a mesh strainer over top. While bringing the milk mixture to a simmer, beat the sugar into the egg yolks. When the milk is simmering, slowly pour over the egg and sugar combination, beating constantly, so you don't wind up with scrambled eggs. The pour back in sauce pan, and stir constantly until it coats the back of your spoon.

Pour the thick custard through the strainer into the cream. The strainer will make sure you don't get any weird gross scrambled egg bits, which can always happen with custards. Chill until cold. (You could use an ice bath, but who has enough ice to do an ice bath? I put the pitcher in the fridge for 24 hours.)

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

* Coming up next, probably, will be maple meringues, made with the leftover egg whites. When the humidity breaks enough that I suspect that the egg whites should stiffen properly.

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