Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ice Cream #6: Green Tea

After sushi, Aaron and I love to get green tea mochi, but when finished, we always crave more! The solution: green tea ice cream. This frozen delight isn't too sweet and we found it has an earthiness similar to the real mint chip ice cream I made a couple months ago. This recipe calls for the Japanese powdered green tea called matcha. Matcha is the traditional tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies. It is wonderfully rich, complex, and turns the cream a beautiful sage green. 

After letting the custard refrigerate overnight, I attempted to freeze it in my ice cream maker. But after thirty minutes, it was still liquid! I panicked and thought my ice cream maker had bit the dust. That is until I decided to check the temperature of my refrigerator with my trusty thermometer. Sure enough, my fridge was just out of the "food safe zone" (40 degrees F and below) and into the "danger zone" (41 degrees F to 140 degrees F). Yikes! It turns out, my custard wasn't cold enough to freeze properly (and my perishables weren't being stored properly either). After reducing the fridge temperature, and letting the custard sit another night, it froze beautifully the following day. So, if you ever have problems with your ice cream not freezing, make sure your custard is plenty cold (40 degrees F or below) before adding it to your ice cream maker. And more importantly, check to see your refrigerator isn't in "the danger zone", as mine was. It turned out to be an inadvertent friendly reminder.

This isn't an ice cream you're going to have scoops and scoops of, as a little goes a long way.  We enjoyed this ice cream after stir fry the other night and it it made for an unusual and refreshing after dinner treat. Yum!

Adapted from Gourmet, July 2002

1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups whole milk
¼ teaspoon sea salt
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons matcha (powdered Japanese green tea)

Bring cream, milk, and salt just to a simmer in a 3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan, remove from heat. Whisk in the matcha and set aside to steep (the tea will not be completely dissolved).

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a medium size bowl. Add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture in a very slow stream, whisking vigorously. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining cream mixture in the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (do not let boil). Remove custard from heat when it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon or registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Immediately pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a medium size metal bowl. Stir over an ice bath until cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight. 

Freeze in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer to harden before serving.

Yield: 3 cups

  • Matcha can be found at well-stocked grocery stores or specialty tea and coffee shops. You can also find it many places online, or if living in NYC, at Porto Rico Importing Co.

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