Fresh Mint Ice Cream

8 Jul

Oh the joys of mint ice cream. I cant tell you what a wonderful contrast the sharp, icy mint and the smooth creamy ice cream tastes like – you will just have to try it yourself! An ice cream maker is quite important for this recipe, but you could, I suppose, freeze the custard, and check on it at hourly intervals, stirring to make sure no crystals form. I use a mixture of fresh mint and mint extract, and I combine spearmint, peppermint and applemint in my fresh mixture, though if you only have access to one type, by all means use only that. I also use a mixture of 2 to 1 in terms of cream and milk, but you can adjust this according to your tastes. The egg whites can be refrigerated in a clean bottle and used within a week for something delicious like meringues or something boringly healthy like an egg white omlette.

This recipe makes 2 pints, and you could certainly halve it if you are not feeding a large number of people! Make it a few days ahead of time so the ice cream has time to ripen and deepen in the freezer.

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed mint (a mixture of spearmint, peppermint and applemint), stalks removed and washed clean of grit
  • 1 + 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp peppermint or mint extract (if needed, and I usually do)

In a blender, combine the cream and the mint and 1 cup of sugar, until the mint is just flecks of green in the cream. Pour this mixture into a large saucepan and add the 2 cups of milk. Heat on a very very low fire until simmering (don’t boil), and then take off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for at least 15 minutes, and up to a couple hours.

When youre ready to start again, beat the remaining sugar with the egg yolks, until a bright yellow golden colour.

Once the mint cream has steeped, test for heat. If its cold, heat it up so that when you dip a finger in it, it feels like very hot bathwater. Take about a half cup of the mint cream and beat it into the egg sugar mixture. Incorporate this back into the mint cream, which should be set over a very low fire. Cook, stirring slowly, for about 6 – 8 minutes or until a custard forms. You can tell this is working if you dip a spoon into the cream and run a finger across the back, you see a clear clean line.

Be brave when making custard. People fear that they will end up with a sweet scrambled egg mess! I wont lie, sometimes that happens, but you will get the hang of it quite quickly. Low heat and constant stirring are the keys to success. You will see the mixture turn from a watery liquid, to a thickish custard – this is where you want to stop, and take it off the heat and test it. If you do get a few scrambles, don’t worry – the sieving process will make sure those curdy bits at the bottom don’t get into the final mixture! Also, you can beat (gently with a fork) in half a cup of cold cream once you have sieved the mixture: this sometimes helps a lot.

Put a large sieve or cheesecloth over a clean large bowl, and pour the custard through the sieve, pressing down, and then discarding the solids. Taste for sugar (remember that when you freeze ice cream, your taste buds don’t taste the sweetness as well), and for mint. If needed, add a teaspoon or two of mint or peppermint extract. If you think it needs to be sweeter, beat about half a cup of custard in a smaller bowl with a couple heaping tablespoons of sugar, and combine back.

Put the custard in the fridge and let it cool completely for 6 hours, or overnight. Taste again.

Once the custard has cooled, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker, and churn. This should make 2 lots of ice cream in the usual 1 pint ice cream maker.

Spoon into a clean waiting container, and freeze overnight, or a few days, to let the flavors ripen and deepen.

PS — help yourself to a scoop of the freshly churned ice cream — cook’s treat!

One Response to “Fresh Mint Ice Cream”

  1. Mariana July 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Seriously. It’s hot and I want some now! For once I’m glad you didn’t post a photo …

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