Monday, September 14, 2009

I Scream for More: Fresh Mint Ice Cream

At this point, some of you might be wondering if we've given up on our Perfect Scoop ice cream making project.
Despite our unseasonably cool August, a really full schedule, and the fact that our thighs are already bulging from blog-food-induced weight gain, you'll be happy to know we've still persisted in the ice cream arena. We've been tackling recipes based on what's available locally -- so we've skipped around a bit.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the chocolate mint out in the garden was looking like it needed a bit of a hair cut (I love growing mint in the garden -- but it can get a little bit crazy -- so it helps to have a stash of ideas on hand so that you can use your harvest every now and again).

If you've never tried it, chocolate mint is a real pleasure. Not only is it a lovely plant with deep green, prettily serrated leaves, but it has lovely dark stems and relatively pretty flowers (for a mint plant). The mint flavor is strong -- and reminiscent of chocolate. Makes great tea, and is lovely added to iced tea or sprinkled OVER ice cream.

So, why not make it INTO ice cream?
I flipped through David Lebovitz's book and found his recipe, which conveniently calls for 2 cups of tightly packed fresh mint leaves. Perfect.
We clipped a seriously huge pile of the mint and shaved the lovely leaves from the woody stems.
Once we had an overflowing two cups of leaves, we went about gathering up the other four ingredients -- egg yolks (5), whole milk (1 cup), cream (2 cups), and sugar (3/4 cup) to start. (Häagen-Dazs prides itself on five ingredients -- but we'll do them one better... how about five lovely, fresh, local ingredients?)
First, you heat 1 cup of cream with the milk and sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, you'll steep the mint leaves in the hot mixture for about an hour.
During the steeping process, the "tea" turns a lovely minty green color (and begins to smell like a peppermint patty!). You'll rewarm it, incorporate the egg yolks, and cook it into the custard base for your ice cream. You'll know it's ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
At that point, you can take the the mint custard base and strain it into the remaining 1 cup heavy cream.
Mix everything altogether... appreciating the way the earthy green color melds with not-quite-whiteness of the cream.
Give the mixture a good chill over the top of an ice bath to give it a head start on the cooling process, and then toss it into the fridge for a couple of hours.
Once the mixture is really cold, you can pour it into your ice cream maker and let it work its magic.

The result?
The creamiest, mintiest ice cream you've ever tasted.

Using fresh mint gives this treat a fantastic herbal quality that you just don't get from recipes that use extracts. When Peef insisted we serve the ice cream with a little bit of chocolate syrup... well, I just couldn't complain.
This ice cream would be perfect in a mint-chocolate ice cream sammich. Or served alongside a decadent slice of flourless chocolate torte.

Or how about something a little bit different, and undeniably adult? ... a delightfully decadent mint julep shake??


Creative Commons License
©BURP! Where Food Happens

17 comments:

  1. mmmmm...can I stop on over for a taste? :-) jo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, way to make me feel like a total loser! I have a ton of chocolate mint in my garden, but noooo, I have to tackle sweet corn ice cream. It never dawned on me to try mint. Not once. But beet? Rhubarb? Corn? Yeah, I'll try those.

    Your ice cream looks amazing and I'm actually drooling as I type. I love mint. Love it.

    Do you want to trade? I have a batch of corn ice cream (kernels and all) in my freezer. It looks really pretty. You could drizzle caramel on it and have caramel corn ice cream.

    From now on I'll check with you guys first before I make ice cream.

    :-)

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jen - Anytime!

    Melissa - You're no loser! I LOVE the caramel corn idea! Totally more adventurous ground than mint... though I'm not sure I'm ready to trade yet!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have no idea why my loser mint never came up this year. I'm irked, because I'd love to try this. There is nothing like home made ice cream (currently, though, I'm hooked on frozen strawberry yogurt).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ahhhh, I could kiss you! We have a huge, lovely, sprawling chocolate mint plant in the yard that I keep because I like to walk by and brush its leaves and inhale, but I never DO anything with the mint leaves. I will now! This recipe sounds terrific, and I think I have enough mint to make, oh, a quadruple batch. ;) Thanks for the recipe and enticing photos!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I bet this is so, so delicious. I love, love mint.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh boy, this really sounds like heaven!!!I love mint ice cream. FRESH mint ice cream that it...I adore chocolate mint, but haven't found a plant in years...:(

    ReplyDelete
  8. OK yeah add chocolate! And I'll take a scoop or two. My husband will go bananas when he sees this. He loves mint ice cream and we have tons in our garden. Thanks for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks wonderful! Admittedly, I can't think of mint ice cream without inserting "chocolate" somewhere in there. 8-) Steeping mint leaves in the milk/cream is fantastic - better than bottled extract!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Truly this is a beautiful use of mint. I'd like to turn it into an open-faced sammy with a dense, chocolatey brownie. Mmm.....

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mmmm, mint! We have a jungle of odd mints in the garden and we're always looking for ways to use it. Chocolate mint is one of my favorites (great in cookies too!). So glad the ice cream project lives on!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the lack of a toothpaste green on this. The delicate color is so beautiful! I'd have to restrain myself from crumbling chocolate cookies over the top of that perfect scoop.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am normally not too fond of the taste of mint in my food but this just looks absolutely perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  14. How have I not stumbled on your blog before?! I'm a born-and-raised Wisconsinite... definitely relate to MANY of your posts. Love the nostalgia, since I'm now living in southeast Texas. (No Autumn colors?! Heaven help me!) And it seems I've come at just the right moment, b/c my boyfriend and I (another WI native) have recently procured the ice cream attachment for our KitchenAid!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my goodness, that looks so delicious! I love chocolate mint, but while we do grow it in the summer, we never do much with it except use it to garnish iced tea. This looks like a perfect way to use it!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love mint, what a beautiful ice cream.

    ReplyDelete

We're thrilled that you came to visit us here at BURP! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. We're not always able to respond to every comment, but we'll make every effort to answer questions in a timely fashion. We especially enjoy reading about what's going on in your own creative kitchens. So, don't be shy!

And thanks for stopping by!