I've mentioned in previous posts that San Francisco doesn't have a traditional summer. It's pretty much the exact opposite. June, July and August around here rank as some of the coldest months in the year. Fog, fog, fog. It's kind of funny actually. But it kind of sucks too; especially when you hear about clear, blue skies just 20 minutes outside of the city. Oh well, can't really complain when you live in one of the best places on the planet.
July is National Ice Cream Month. Did you know that? To celebrate this distinction I pulled out my ice cream maker from the cupboard and made some mint chip ice cream.
This isn't like the mint chip I grew up. You know, the kind that was tinted bright green? This ice cream is naturally flavored and colored using actual mint leaves, hence the pale color. When you take a bite the first thing you notice is the distinct, yet subtle mint flavor followed by a hit of bittersweet chocolate. So refreshing!
Mint Chip Ice Cream (from David Lebovitz)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups packed (80 gr) 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.
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.