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Green Tea Ice Cream

Green tea is made from steamed and dried tea leaves that, unlike the leaves for black tea, have not been fermented. Its delicate flavor translates to a light, refreshing ice cream. After a day or two, the acids that occur naturally in the tea become more pronounced, so it is best to eat the ice cream soon after making it. Though convenient, tea bags do not make the best tea, as the leaves are not able to circulate. For better flavor, seek out high-quality loose tea sold in tea shops or specialty-food stores. Avoid common commercial brands, which are made from blends of inferior bits of leaves.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups milk (see Note)
  • 2 Tbs. loose green tea or 6 green tea bags
  • 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. honey

Directions:

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the loose tea or submerge the tea bags in the hot milk. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or remove the tea bags from the milk, gently squeezing them to extract their liquid. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine the tea-infused milk and 1 cup of the cream. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and add the honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4 to 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.

Note: If using loose tea, you will need to use 2 cups milk; if using tea bags, use 1 1/2 cups milk.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Ice Cream, by Mary Goodbody (Simon & Schuster, 2003).