Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Mint is our ingredient of the season. In the kitchen we’ve made a few alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, salads, and meatballs. For the bathroom we made a refreshing foot scrub and some non-toxic deodorant.

You know the mint ice cream in your grocer’s freezer section? This is nothing like that. This ice cream gets all of its minty flavor from fresh mint, and with that comes a deep, green, earthy flavor from the plant. That description may sound crazy for ice cream, but when you eat fresh mint you taste so much more than the isolated mint flavor that’s added to commercial ice cream. By infusing the milk and cream with fresh mint, you’re adding those layers of complexity to this very simple dessert.

As I was sharing a cone with A. Max this afternoon, I was trying to think of another way to convey the flavor of this ice cream. At our house growing up, there was so much mint growing around the edge of the garden that it would get cut with the lawn mower. Have you ever experienced that? Mint getting cut with the green grass on a hot summer day? That’s this ice cream.

liveseasoned_summer2014_minticecream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
  • 5 large egg yolks

How-to

  • Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream, salt, and mint leaves in a medium saucepan. Once it is hot and steaming, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for one to three hours.
  • Use a strainer to remove the mint, squeezing the leaves to extract as much flavor and color as possible.
  • Rewarm the infused mixture. While it’s heating up, whisk together the egg yolks in a large bowl, and then slowly pour some of the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly.
  • Scrape the milk and yolk mixture (custard) back into the saucepan, and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats a spatula. If using a thermometer, the temperature should read 170F.
  • Immediately strain the custard into the remaining 1 cup of cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.
  • Refrigerate the mixture until well-chilled (5-8 hours), and then freeze it using your favorite ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

The original recipe for this ice cream comes from David Lebovitz’s website. He includes chocolate chips, which I’ve omitted here. I also play with the timing for some of the steps, steeping the mint longer. I actually put my milk in the fridge to steep for well over 3 hours, and it came out perfectly minty, but I conservatively recommended 1-3 hours above.

 

A. Max loves his ice cream. It may have had something to do with that month at the beach house living across the street from the town’s one ice cream stand. He’s a pro – never drops his cone, and gets at least half of the ice cream into his belly. I just discovered the mini cones (you’ve probably known about these for years, huh?). They are the perfect size for the little guy, giving him a sweet treat without too much of a crash after.

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