Monday, October 13, 2008

>> Earl Grey Ice Cream

I can't remember why exactly, but I was flipping through Nigella Express and a page caught my eye. It was a recipe for no-churn pomegranate ice cream -- the ingredients were simple, requiring the juices of one pomegranate and a lime, powdered sugar, and heavy cream. I had some heavy cream whose expiration date was quickly approaching, however I lacked pomegranate, let alone a lime. After musing about what flavour of homemade ice cream I should create - I decided that if I must make ice cream, it must be a unique flavour that is for the most part, uncommon in the realm of ice cream world! It suddenly occurred to me that I should attempt earl grey tea flavoured ice cream: I would make a concentrate of earl grey, substitute lime with lemon juice (which should complement the bergamot oil of the tea nicely), use a bit more powdered sugar to counter the tart or sour taste of the lemon juice. I even added some orange zest to give the ice cream more texture and zing. My recipe is below <3

: :  Homemade Earl Grey Ice Cream
adapted from Nigella Express: No-Churn Pomegranate Ice Cream recipe
Serving Size: 6+ (depending on how much or little one can eat in one sitting ;p)

1 cup of organic heavy whipping cream
1 cup of powdered sugar
6 ounces Earl Grey tea concentrate 
2 tbspoon of lemon juice
*orange zest is optional

First, make the Earl Grey tea concentrate: Steep 2 tea sachets (I used Harney & Sons' Earl Grey Supreme) in 6 oz. of hot water for 5 minutes. Remove tea sachets and chill the concentrate until cold.
Second, add powdered sugar, lemon juice, and orange zest and whisk until it is a uniform mixture.
Third, whisk in cream and continue whisking until the mixture becomes a sort of thick and fluffy batter, or until soft peaks form.
Fourth, transfer ice cream batter into a sturdy airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or even overnight. 
To serve, allow ice cream to sit in room temperature for at least 5 minutes before scooping. For garnishing, be creative! I used shaved dark chocolate and a spiral of orange peel. 

: Afterthoughts :
The ice cream itself turned out nicely, I found that it was very rich (it is heavy cream after all... as my mom put it: Too much could give someone a heart attack). Thus why I believe that the serving sizes can be that small :p
The texture of the ice cream is a little bit flakey, a little on the icy side, but I think that's if you leave it in the freezer too long. Another reason could be because I took a long time to whisk/whip up the ice cream batter -- I was initially stubborn and over-optimistic that I could whisk the mixture by hand, but then later resorted to whisking it by my electric mixer. I think the period of me whisking it by hand wasn't very beneficial to fluffing air into the batter, thus why the ice cream was a bit dense and a tiny bit icy..
My concentrate of earl grey, is a little on the strong side (according to some) - but as someone who works with tea on a daily basis, I didn't find it overwhelming ;p I suppose one could just steep only one of the tea sachets for half the time, to reduce the strength of the tea. 
I thought that the lemon juice and orange zest give the ice cream great dimensions of flavour, a nice tartness and subtle sweet citrusy note. 
After I made the ice cream, I was super excited about buying cute little ice cream bowls (technically called latte bowls) to serve my ice cream in - very classic dessert diner look - from Anthropologie. I couldn't resist the soft sky blue or the clean and simple white. For $2.50 a piece, I had to get both.. Just wait, I'm sure my collection will grow as I find more and more reasons to get one in each colour. ;p 
Sadly it will be a while until I make more ice cream, but I'll continue contemplating what other flavours to experiment with.. Ginger? Persimmon?  Any suggestions?