Food on Friday: Thawing out with ice cream

By Julia Westhoff

The ice cream truck rolled by our Wednesday night (did anyone else hear it?) It seemed so out of place on a 30-degree evening (even if it was the first day of spring).

But I supposed I shouldn’t criticize, since we’ve been making and eating ice cream like it’s July. I think it’s the combination of wanting it to be nicer, while still feeling the need to hibernate. And the coolest thing (ha ha) about making your own ice cream is that you can create any flavor you want. Someday I hope to resurrect Ben and Jerry’s Cool Brittania (vanilla with strawberries and chocolate-covered shortbread). What ice cream flavor would you want to try? After the jump are recipes we tried this week for two of our current favorites, green tea and chai-spiced milk chocolate, both from the Bi-Rite Creamery’s wonderful cookbook “Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones.”

Chai-Spiced Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients
15 whole black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
7 green cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
6 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

Toast the spices:
Combine the spices in a medium saucepan and turn it on to medium-high heat. Toast, stirring, until the spices are aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cream, milk, sugar and salt. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, remove from the heat and cover the pan. Let it steep for about 30 minutes, or until it tastes like chai.

Make the base:
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks to break them up, and set aside. Put the chopped chocolate in another heatproof bowl and set it aside.

Bring the pan of infused cream to a simmer over medium heat.

Carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl. Repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of the cream to the yolks. Doing this allows the eggs to begin cooking slowly and making a custard, rather than scrambling them.

Slowly whisk the egg-cream mixture into the saucepan.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it has thickened and coats the back of the spatula, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of chopped chocolate, wash your whisk, and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Set the bowl into an ice-water batch, and stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove from the water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As the ice cream churns, put the container that you plan to use to store the ice cream into the freezer. Transfer the ice cream to the container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving

Green Tea Ice Cream

Ingredients:
5 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon matcha powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in the matcha and half of the sugar, until it is easily distributed and not clumpy. Set aside.

In a heavy pan, stir together the cream, milk, salt and remaining sugar, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.

Carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl. Repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of the cream to the yolks. Doing this allows the eggs to begin cooking slowly and making a custard, rather than scrambling them.

Slowly whisk the egg-cream mixture into the saucepan.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it has thickened and coats the back of the spatula, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Set the bowl into an ice-water batch, and stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove from the water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As the ice cream churns, put the container that you plan to use to store the ice cream into the freezer. Transfer the ice cream to the container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.