earl grey ice cream

It’s that time of year again – time to break out ye olde ice cream maker and conquer new flavours!  But with so many options out there these days (some crazier than others), how does one choose?  Maybe I’m becoming somewhat of an ice cream purist in my old age, if such a thing exists, because I tend to gravitate towards one-or-two note flavours.  Anything beyond that just seems confusing.  So when I was thinking about what flavour to try out, I looked to my pantry for some inspiration and saw my big tin of various tea bags sitting in one of the cupboards.  And then it hit me – I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for over a year!  This will be the one to kick off my season of ice cream making.

ingredientsGather around, ye olde friends!  This recipe uses a mix of heavy cream, half & half, and whole milk.  Along with our friends sugar, eggs, vanilla, and of course the Earl Grey tea, we’re ready to make some delicious ice cream.

earlgreyI picked up this organic “Aged Earl Grey” tea from the local organic market because I was instantly intrigued by the “aged” part.  Carried away by the pretty packaging, I gave it no second thought, even though I’ve never tried a Numi-brand tea before.

steepedThe milk, half & half, cream, and sugar are heated over medium heat.  The recipe calls for all the sugar to be added to the milk mixture, but I prefer leaving a couple of tablespoons for the eggs to add a bit of protection from curdling.  The tea bags are tossed in once the milk is steaming (not boiling).  Remove from heat, cover it with a lid, and let steep for a good 20 minutes.

eggfrothIn the mean time, froth up the egg yolks with the bit of sugar and vanilla.  After the tea is done steeping, remove the tea bags.  I removed my tea bags into a small bowl and squished out as much milk as possible to return back into the pot – you don’t want to lose any of that goodness!  Reheat the milk mixture until steaming; temper the eggs by adding a couple tablespoons of the milk mixture at a time, whisking the mixture constantly.

cookcustardOnce the eggs are tempered, add it into the milk mixture, return to the heat, and cook the custard until it coats the back of a spoon.

custardStrain the custard and place in a bowl  (or any other vessel that works).  Refrigerate overnight.  And then do your thang with the ice cream machine.

earlgrey2It’s wonderfully fragrant and intensely flavoured with Earl Grey.  I love how this turned out – and the beautiful golden colour – it’s creamy, rich, and not too sweet.

chaiteaI even made a batch of Chai Tea Ice Cream, using the same base.  These Numi teas are delicious, I must say, and turned out well in the ice cream.  I reckon you could use any type of tea for this base and it would turn out fantastic.  The possibilities are endless!

Earl Grey Ice Cream

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, warm the milk, half and half, and sugar over medium-heat, stirring occasionally. Once the milk is steaming (but not boiling), remove pan from heat. Place the tea bags into the pan, cover and steep at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove tea bags, then return to medium-heat.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla until frothy. Once the milk mixture is re-warmed, add 2 Tbsp. of the hot milk mixture to the eggs, and quickly whisk in until combined. Repeat 2-3 more times with more of the milk mixture, then gradually pour in the remainder of the milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk quickly until combined.

Return the new milk/egg mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the pan constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Immediately strain through a fine-mesh strainer, and then refrigerate until completely cooled (at least 6-8 hours). Then freeze with an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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