Thanks to all the rain and heat recently, our herb garden is rocking. What better way to use up some of our abundant supply of mint and to ring in summer than with some homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream? I found this recipe in a favorite ice cream cookbook and decided to give it a shot.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves*
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons canola oil
*thank goodness for the home-grown mint because a packed cup is actually quite a lot of mint. If I had tried to get that many leaves from the store, I would have spent at least $10!
1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk, 1 cup of cream, and the mint leaves. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of gthe pan, about 5 minutes. Be carefuly here. I’ve learned from expereince that you really have to watch hot milk carefully or you’ll have a BIG mess on your hands. Remove from the heat and let stand for about 20 minutes to steep.
2. While the mint/milk tea steeps, combine the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cream in a bowl. Whisk until smooth.
3. Once the mint/milk does its thing, gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the warm milk into the egg mixture. This is also known as tempering the eggs and its a really important step. It allows the egg mixture to gradually come up in temperature. If you were to add the cold eggs directly to the hot milk all at once, you’re going to end up with a nasty scrambled egg mess in there. Make sure that you add the hot milk slowly.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn across it. Do not let the custard boil.
5. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium sized bowl. Press the mint with the back of the spoon and discard. Place the bowl in an a larger bowl filled partly with ice cubes and water. Stir occasionally until cool. Cover the cooled custard with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
6. About an hour before freezing the ice cream, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Stir until melted, then stir in canola oil. Transfer to a small pitcher and cool to room temperature.
7. Pour the custard into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. When almost frozen, add the chocolate while the machine continues churning. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent ice crystals from forming, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours, before serving.
The end result was really good. It was actually a little too minty for my taste, although the chocolate chips balanced it out pretty well. I think $1.25 is looking for an excuse to try the mint ice cream with a little bourbon instead of chocolate chips, so I think he liked it. When we make mint julep ice cream, we’ll let you know how it turns out too.