Currently cooking out of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
With summer finally setting in here in North Idaho, I thought some more ice cream was in order. This was a recipe that I really wanted to try the first time I went through this book, but I couldn’t find fresh mint. Well, I could find fresh mint, but it was quite expensive, so I planned ahead and planted my own.
I planted two different kinds of mint, Moroccan mint and some other kind (it was mint. It smelled minty. That was good enough for me.). The only reason I remember the name Moroccan mint was that it looked unlike all the other mint plants for sale, and it smelled sweeter than the regular mint.
This ice cream follows the same basic steps as most of her other ice creams. You boil milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup for a few minutes, whisk in a cornstarch slurry and bring the mixture back to a boil. Then you whisk in cream cheese, remove the pot from the heat and stir in a big handful of torn mint leaves. The ice cream base is cooled and left to seep for up to 12 hours. Right before churning the ice cream, you strain out the mint leaves.
After some back and forth, I decided to use the Moroccan mint in the ice cream. Also, that was the mint plant that was most in need of trimming. I ended up leaving the mint to seep for about 15 hours before I was able to churn it. I don’t know if that was the problem, but my ice cream turned out funky. And not in a good way.
The first thing I noticed, as I was getting ready to churn the ice cream, was that there wasn’t very much of it. It seemed to have condensed down much more than the other ice creams I’ve done out of this book, and as a consequence, the base was incredibly thick, so thick, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to strain it. So I stirred in some extra milk to thin it out before I strained it. As I started to churn the ice cream, I noticed that it wasn’t freezing very quickly. In fact, my canister ended up thawing completely before the ice cream was frozen. I had no choice but to get it out of the canister and into the freezer while it was still very soft. And even in the freezer, the ice cream never did freeze solidly.
And finally, the taste. It was very mintly grassy. We love mint and we love ice cream, so we ate it, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite ice cream. I think when you use mint extract, you don’t get the grassy, green taste you do with fresh mint leaves. Or maybe that was just the Moroccan mint.
And since I’ve shown you pictures of my mint plants (that was to cover up the fact that I didn’t take pictures of the ice cream), I thought I’d show you what my tomato plants look like. I like to call it the tomato jungle. There’s lots of leaves, some flowers, but no tomatoes yet.