Thursday, June 11, 2015
Confirmation: I like ice cream! Because it is such a nuanced and up-and-coming food trend?! Right. I also very much enjoy making ice cream. I get all kinds of nerdy watching the base churn into a voluminous, creamy dessert. But I don't like overly fussy, time consuming or complicated recipes. The science of it all overwhelms me. Yes, making ice cream can overwhelm me. I'm a treat. Puns always intended.
Mint chocolate chip happens to be one of my favorites. I love the fresh, bright flavor paired with the crunch of shaved dark chocolate. I do have certain expectations and standards for the classic. First, the mint can't taste chemically - I can smell mass produced mint extract before entering the grocery store, and I don't like it. The chocolate needs to be high quality and properly cut. Obviously, waxy chocolate is a no-go and it can't be too large or in a morsel shape. By morsel I mean chocolate chips that you would put in cookies. It is probably best to look at the photo directly above this passage for reference.
This recipe has been adapted from the Fresh Mint Chip Ice Cream recipe by Alice Medrich via Food52. I appreciate the cold steeping, especially in this hot, hot weather. I plan on applying the technique in the future. I opted to buy high quality chocolate instead of crafting my own. This is a custard based ice cream, which required an overnight chill. It also makes the dish more decadent. In the future I would consider reducing the amount of egg yolks for a lighter ice cream. Again, not quite sure how that would impact the science of it all.
Fresh Mint Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from Food52
1. Combine the cream and mint and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and no longer than 10 hours.
Strain the cream into a medium saucepan, pressing on the mint to extract as much liquid as you can; discard the mint. (If you are not ready to make the ice cream immediately, just refrigerate the strained cream until you are.)
2. Add the milk, sugar, and salt to the cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl near the stove for the finished ice cream base.
In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks just to combine them.
3. Add the hot cream in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof Silicone spatula—sweeping the bottom, sides, and corners of the pot— until the mixture is slightly thickened and registers between 175º and 180º F. The mixture should be slightly thickened, but even if not, remove it from the heat before it exceeds 180º (see note below).
4. Strain the mixture into the clean bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate, covered, until thoroughly chilled.
5. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, adding the chocolate chunks at the end.
NOTE: If your burner heat is too high, the mixture may reach 180º F before it has a chance to thicken, which is not a disaster, but not ideal. Regardless, if the temperature exceeds 180º F, there is a risk of scrambling the eggs. Bottom line: Cooking lower and slower is better than hotter and faster.