Hi, Food Friends! So I met this cool tea company at the National Restaurant Show, Le Palais des Thes (sorry, I don’t have an accent ague on my keyboard). Their tea is beautiful: all manner of beautiful teas, some green, some black, some blended with flowers and herbs. And then they sent me a few samples. And I was like, “Oh no, it’s too hot for my normal hot-tea drinking … maybe I’ll make some iced tea.” And then I was like, “Wait! No! Let’s make tea ICE CREAM! Never done THAT before!” I made beer ice cream last summer (with a rich chocolate-y stout) and it was the bomb, so why not tea? And you know? It’s DIVINE!
Full disclosure: I did have to add just a little bit of green food coloring to the custard before I froze it, because it’s natural hue was, well, kind of a pale green/gray – not the most delicious-looking color. But food coloring has no flavor, so I didn’t worry about it. But on to the taste: I steeped four The du Hammam tea bags in the cream/milk mixture to infuse it with the tea. And I skipped the vanilla bean, because I really wanted to taste the tea. It came out just perfectly: sweet – but not too sweet (perfect for adding a drizzle of some really good quality honey) and refreshing and I’m totally making it again. I also lightened it up a little bit, using more milk than cream, because I think if you use too much fat, it kind of coats your tongue when you eat it and it’s hard to really taste the flavor. Plus, who doesn’t want to save a few cals here and there? It still came out rich and ice-cream-y.
Check out the Palais des Thes web site (you can order online and they also have cool tea recipes on the site). The The du Hammam is a green tea inspired by a Turkish recipe with strong floral notes of rose, orange water, green dates and berries. It’s an absolute delight. They also sent me some The des Alizes, and I can smell the watermelon-y, fruitiness – that’s my next batch, I think.
Want to make some? Come on, I’ll show you how – it’s not hard. CAVEATS: 1) The only way I know how to make ice cream is with an ice cream maker (I have a Cuisinart one and for $60 you can make all the ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt you want). And 2) THINK AHEAD: the freezing container of the ice cream maker needs to spend 24 hours in your freezer before you make ice cream, so I just keep mine in the freezer all the time, so I’m ready when the need for ice cream arises.
Fancy Tea Ice Cream
1 C. heavy whipping cream
2 C. whole milk
5 large egg yolks (I freeze the whites in twos, in plastic bags, for future Snow Pudding or other recipes)
2/3 C sugar
4 The du Hammam tea bags
WHAT YOU DO:
1) Put your cream and milk into a medium-size sauce pan and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Don’t let it come to a full boil. When it gets to a simmer (bubbles around the edges), take it off the heat, and put the tea bags in. Let steep for five minutes.
2) Now, get a large-ish bowl, and add your sugar and your five egg yolks and whisk that all about until it’s well-blended.
3) Remove the tea bags from the milk/cream mix (squeeze out the liquid from them, and be quick about it – they’re freakin’ hot!) and SLOWLY, add the hot dairy mixture to your egg/sugar mix, whisking as you go. You don’t want the eggs to cook from the heat of the dairy, and if you pour in a very slow stream, you’ll avoid that. Got it? Okay, onward.
4) Put the whole lot BACK into your sauce pan and return it to medium-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon CONSTANTLY for about 10-12 minutes. You’re making a custard here, really, and low and slow is the key. It will start to thicken and when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon (you should be able to swipe a finger across the spoon, leaving a clear path), it’s ready.
5) Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, into a clean bowl and lay Saran wrap right onto the surface of the hot custard and get ‘er into the fridge to chill. I chilled mine for about 90 minutes, but an hour would probably do the trick.
6) Now it’s time to put it into your ice cream maker! Just get your frozen container out of the freezer and pour the custard in, turn that sucker on and let ‘er rip for 30 minutes. Et voila – fancy tea ice cream!
First get a spoon and TASTE IT! Then, resisting the desire to keep tasting it, pack it into a quart-size container and let it set up in the freezer for several hours. Serve plain in cute little scoops, or with a drizzle of honey. You could also make cute little ice cream sandwiches, using butter cookies or ginger snaps, or you could serve with some slivered almonds. Enjoy!