So I know I always claim to not appreciate ice cream much, but all of those weak protestations went out the window last weekend when I was confronted with this:
And this wasn’t mint from a bottle, mind you, this was huge handfuls of fresh mint, infused into the milk and cream mixture for a full hour.
I swear, my kitchen smelled like a spring garden when this was done infusing. The taste of fresh mint is so unlike mint extract, I wonder how I was conned into using the bottled stuff for so long.
So after the custard was made, chilled, and churned in the ice cream maker, the fun REALLY began. One of my favorite things about this recipe was the fun, creative method of forming the chocolate “chips.” In past mint chip attempts, I’ve simply used chopped chocolate, which always leaves me gnawing on ice-cold chocolate boulders and praying for the integrity of my molars. This recipe was entirely different.
Step 1: melt chocolate and place it into a Ziploc with a tiny hole cut in the corner. Squiggle some melted chocolate into the ice cream storage container.
Smooth a thin layer of mint ice cream on top of the melted chocolate.
The chocolate will start to freeze and harden right away, so immediately take a spoon and stir around the top, breaking up the strands and forming little chocolate shards that get embedded into the ice cream.
Lather, rinse, repeat several times, until you’ve used up all of the ice cream and all of the melted chocolate. Aside from being really fun to do, this method produces perfect little strands of chocolate throughout the ice cream that are never too chunky or hard.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks
5 ounces (140 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, salt, and mint.
Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.
Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. (You can also use well-washed hands to do it as well, making sure the mixture isn’t too hot to safely handle.) Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.
Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.
Rewarm the infused milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170ºF (77ºC).
Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.
Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth. Place a storage container in the freezer.
9. When the ice cream in the machine is ready, scribble some of the chocolate into the container, then add a layer of the just-churned ice cream to the container. Scribble melted chocolate over the top of the ice cream, then quickly stir it in, breaking up the chocolate into irregular pieces. Continue layering the ice cream, scribbling more chocolate and stirring as you go.
When finished, cover and freeze until firm.