This luscious ice cream forms installment number two of the Footprints' chocolate and mint iced confection series. The reason why he needs these sweet recipes can be found in part one. Then, I devised an ultra rich chocolate ice cream that is so over the top that it sticks to your ribs - the whole lot infused gently with mint.
This time I turned the idea on its head - same ingredients, totally different result. Instead of letting the confrontational flavour of mint dance a timid beat in the background, this ice cream has mint taking the spotlight. It is a vivid luminous green, be-speckled with dark, crunchy bits of chocolate. The punchy and herby taste of mint is unmistakable.
Now I am the first to admit that mint used in sweet dishes is not to my taste. I much prefer mint in a savoury context, especially when deftly used in a South East Asian manner - combined with coriander in salads and spiked with a fiery dressing. I have made an exception with this ice cream however. Since I made it a few days ago, I have been surreptitiously popping off to the cool room with a dessertspoon in hand to sneak a few bites of this silky green stuff.
Pretty much any mint will be fine in this recipe, common mint, spearmint, and if you can find it, chocolate mint would add an interesting sympathy with the choc bits. The only mint not suitable is the hot tasting Vietnamese mint or laksa leaf. What is important however, is that you use a blender to chop the mint as finely as possible in the early steps. Instead of infusing by heat, which would nullify the delightful green colour, I have opted to use surface area to obtain all the flavour. This way the ice cream has a full mint taste, and a vivid green colour at the same time.
7 egg yolks
200 gm (6 1/2 oz) caster sugar
350 ml milk
350 ml cream (35% butterfat)
1 bunch mint
60 gm (2 oz) chocolate, use your favourite
Place the egg yolks and sugar into a large heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Pick the leaves from the mint, wash well, then pat dry. Place into a cocktail-style blender with 250 ml (1 cup) of the milk and puree until the mint is very well chopped. You should now have green milk.
Place the remaining milk and the cream into a small saucepan and bring to the simmer. Pour directly onto the egg yolks and immediately whisk well to combine. Rinse out the saucepan, half fill with water and bring to the simmer. Add the minty milk to the egg yolk mixture and set over the simmering water. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the custard reaches 81 °C (170 °F) on a sugar thermometer, or has thickened and coats the stirring spoon. This can take around 10 minutes.
Pass the cooked custard through a fine-meshed sieve into a waiting bowl and allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. Meanwhile chop the chocolate into choc-bit sizes. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream machine until it is just about set, and then add the choc bits. Most churners will not incorporate the choc bits thoroughly, so you might need to help it along with the aid of a spoon. Spoon the mixture out into a bucket and the place in the freezer for 6 hours to set.
Makes about 750 ml (3 cups)