30 May 2011

Ice-cream weather (finally!)

A neighbour gave me some spearmint for the garden, just after we moved here (nearly four years ago, now - doesn't seem possible!). It's been fairly well behaved until now, but this year it has lived up to its invasive reputation. I spent some time today pulling a fair proportion of it up. But it seemed a shame to throw it on the compost heap, and the summer weather has arrived at last, so I thought I'd use it to make mint choc chip ice cream.

I found a recipe online from the ever-reliable David Lebovitz (well, in ice-cream matters, anyway, I can't speak for his personal life). It called for 80 grams of mint leaves, which is pretty much exactly what I had pulled from the garden. You steep the mint with hot cream, milk and sugar for an hour, after which time it looks like this:

You can see how the milk is turning a pale greenish colour. After an hour of steeping you squeeze the mint leaves dry, extacting every possible drop of colour and flavour. What's left of the leaves makes a very compact ball!

The infused milk is then used to make a custard with eggs, in the usual way. Because our chickens' egg yolks are so orange, the resulting colour of the custard is more yellowy-green than you'd think of for mint ice cream. Chartreuse, even:

The mixture is then frozen in an ice-cream maker and melted dark chocolate stirred into it. By the time it's been churned, the green tinge has pretty much gone and it could be just vanilla. It hasn't lost the mintiness, though. Oh, no.

Now I've never really liked mint choc chip ice-cream. But this one, I feel differently about. It's really fresh: a perfect way to welcome summer.


Linda said...

I have more mint than I EVER 'meant' to have!! It is EVERYWHERE!! Even tries to make a run for the LAWN! I never thought of making mint ice cream, though. What a clever idea! Loved your post!

Emily said...

We made that ice cream twice last summer and loved it. So different from store-bought mint ice cream

Lisa said...

That looks delicious! Oddly, I'm not having much luck growing mint. I think it's too dry in my California garden.