Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Michael loves mint ice cream very, very much. He does prefer it with a generous amount of chocolate chips, but won’t be too picky as long as the mint flavor is distinct enough. For #localthirty, he wanted to give fresh mint ice cream a shot, using only local dairy, eggs and sugar in addition to our homegrown mint. The result came out quite amazing. The mint flavor strikes the perfect balance between dominating and subtle, and the consistency… ah, the consistency. While probably not similar at all, it reminds me of one of the best ice cream experiences I’ve ever had – I was about five years old and we were vacationing in Helsingør, Denmark, where there’s an ice cream shop called Brostræde. Now, whether they still serve these or not I don’t know, but I will never forget my little five-year-old self balancing a waffle cone half my body length, filled with not only several scoops worth of the creamiest of ice cream but also a generous dollop of whipped cream, a spoonful of strawberry jam and – I hope you’re sitting down – a chocolate covered cream/marshmallow ball on top (think something close to Mallomars). I mean, how could this not go down in history as one of the best days ever? My brother and I still talk about it. Anyway – back to this ice cream, and this consistency. It’s fabulous.

When you take this on, make sure you’re using organic mint. The steeping process would otherwise draw out some undesired stuff and dump it in your ice cream. Obviously, all your ingredients should be organic to the best of your ability, but sometimes it just makes sense to mention it specifically. The ice cream consumption in this house really sees an ebb and flow throughout the year – from May through September, something cold often lands in a bowl in front of us (nice cream more often than regular, but both are welcome here), while the other half of the year has us more intrigued by crumbles, pies and buns. I don’t want to call it yet, but this might have been the last ice cream batch for 2018 (although I’m remembering now that we had homemade ice cream as part of our New Year’s Eve dinner 2017 – oh well, rules are there to be broken). If you like mint, this is for you. Happy ice cream making 🙂

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1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp milk
3/4 cup fresh mint (whole leaves, picked from the stem)
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks

Add all of the milk, heavy cream and sugar to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Allow the mixture to almost come to a simmer (it will be hot and steaming) and then remove from heat. Stir in the fresh mint and cover with a lid, and let stand for one hour. The mint will steep and infuse the flavor into the milk mixture, similar to making a cup of tea. After an hour, place a sieve over a bowl and strain the mint out, and using a spatula, press out all the liquid. Discard the mint.

Pour the now mint-infused ice cream base back into a saucepan, and over medium-low heat, bring to just a simmer. Remove promptly from the heat. You don’t want to overcook and scald the milk here. Separate the egg yolks and whisk in a heatproof bowl (store the egg whites in the fridge for another day). Slowly and a little at a time, pour in some of the hot milk mixture (approximately 1 cup total), into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. When the egg yolks have been tempered, pour them into the saucepan with the rest of the ice cream base and reheat gently over low heat. Heat to about 170ºF if using a thermometer, or just until the milk starts to steam if not. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and put in the fridge, covered. Allow to cool for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Churn the ice cream according the ice cream maker instructions. Ours takes approximately 20 minutes. Scoop into an appropriate container and store in the freezer.

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