Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint chocolate chip is McHubby’s favorite ice cream flavor. So when I got a bag full of fresh spearmint from the CSA share, I thought what better way to use it! McHubby was so excited for this ice cream! He could hardly wait for it to freeze before diving in.

The aroma of the mint came through (and smelled so good) during the process of infusing it with the milk and heavy cream. Be careful when tempering the egg yolks with the custard to ensure you don’t get cooked egg yolks! I added one spoonful at a time of the hot custard to the bowl of egg yolks while whisking away, and continued whisking when returning it to the saucepan for reheating. I added ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cooled custard and cream mixture.

The result was a refreshing, cool, minty ice cream with shaved bits of chocolate—so yummy!

3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
⅔ cup sugar
A pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, keep in the freezer until used

Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.

Strain the milk cream mixture into a bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

Prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside until the custard is thickened. Pour through the strainer and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

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