"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream - Part One

Most of my favourite recipes are deceptively simple. In all things I'm value-minded. I like to get a great deal and I like to spend minimal prep and cooking time for maximum flavour. Generally the simpler a delicious dish is to make, the higher it is in my ratings and rotation because simple is often better.

This ice cream is is the opposite of simplicity.  Special equipment, multiple steps and even multiple days are needed to complete this recipe, but I can assure you it is worth it.  I wouldn't make it or recommend it otherwise.  

I love mint chip ice cream. It is my absolute favourite. But even better than whole chocolate chips or chocolate chunks is stracciatella, made by drizzling melted chocolate into the cold ice cream and then stirring to break up the chunks into irregular sized chocolate bits. It integrates the chocolate into the ice cream and gives it a delicious, crunchy texture.

For this recipe you need an ice cream machine. Mine cost about $30 and even though I use it rarely, it's worth it.  Now I don't have to sadly turn the page when I see ice cream recipes in magazines.  I can try them if I want!  I plan to try some frozen yogurt recipes as well for a healthier treat. 

At least a day before you plan to eat the ice cream, put the insert for the ice cream maker in the freezer. You can leave it in there all the time if you have the space so you can make ice cream with less planning ahead, but I don't have extra room so I have to plan ahead.

For most ice cream recipes, you'll also want to make the ice cream base a day ahead so it has time to cool completely and meld the flavours before freezing. I'm using this recipe from David Lebovitz which makes an amazing, rich and delicious ice cream with a custard base.

The first time I made this recipe, the custard broke. It was thin and separated, not thick and creamy. I went ahead and froze it in the ice cream machine anyway and it worked out ok, but this time I used a thermometer when making the custard and it was creamy and much tastier.

First prepare your mint.  If you have mint in the garden, that's ideal because you need a lot.  I actually have chocolate mint growing which I used for this but regular mint is fine.  

The recipe calls for 2 cups packed mint leaves but I weighed it to be safe. It was 80g. 

You also need 1 cup whole milk, 

1 cup whipping cream (plus another cup later), 

And 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt.

Warm the mint leaves, sugar, salt, cream and milk together in a pot. Don't let it boil, just warm until steaming then remove from heat, cover, and let it steep for about an hour.

After an hour, strain the mixture through a fine sieve and press on the mint to extract all the minty flavour. I used my hands to squeeze it out.  

Then discard the solids and rewarm the minty milk in the pot.

Meanwhile, you'll need to separate 5 eggs.

Place the yolks in a medium bowl and save the whites for another use.

Whisk the yolks. Here comes the tricky part. It's not too tough but needs close attention.

Add a ladleful of the hot milk to the yolks to temper them.  This brings the temperature of the eggs up without cooking them so you can add them into the hot milk without shocking them into scrambled eggs!

Once the eggs are added back to the pot, use a candy thermometer to heat the mixture to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  The custard should thicken to coat the back of the spoon, but the temperature is more important at this point.  

Once at temperature, strain the mixture back into a bowl containing the final cup of whipping cream.  I'm using a locking plastic container that I'll cool the mixture in and store the ice cream in later.

Stir the mixture over an ice bath to quickly cool it down.  As you can see, temperature is the key in ice cream making. 

Once cool, store this in the refrigerator overnight before turning it into ice cream in Part Two!

1 comment:

  1. The photos look wonderful! (But still not as wonderful as it tasted.)