Creamy Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream

8 Apr

Ever since I got my Cuisinart ice cream maker last year (actual model: Cuisinart Pure Indulgence™ 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker) I’ve been making frozen goodness non stop just for the fun of making it and to give it away (sharing is caring, always remember that). I have to say through tests, trials and tribulations, the most popular and requested flavour is the Creamy Earl Grey. I’ll definitely be making it again this year (requests are already coming in), and I hope you like the recipe too.

I took the basic Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from David Lebovitz‘s The Perfect Scoop (a must buy for any ice cream lover) and adapted it. The tricky thing about working with tea is the flavour infusion – of course the longer you infuse the more flavourful it is, but when working with tea, the longer you steep the more bitter it becomes. So this is not one of those “leave it in the ice cream maker until it becomes ice cream” kind of recipes, but you must sit by, watch it churn, taste and keep adding (you can’t subtract when it comes to food) till you get it right. Enjoy!

Creamy Earl Grey Ice Cream

For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream (whipping cream in this case). Makes at least 1 quart /1L

  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream chilled (or more)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Creamy Earl Grey loose tea leaves. I get mine from the Secret Garden Tea Company, but regular Earl Grey will also do. You can add more than 2 tablespoons, but you don’t want to overpower the ice cream with tea flavour and bitterness – it should be a nice balance of creaminess and tea. So that’s where the churning and tasting comes in.
  • Agave syrup, coffee cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, honey – to keep on hand for the final churning stage. This is my personal touch =)
  1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Add tea leaves. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
  2. Set a strainer over the top of a smaller bowl or large measuring cup that can hold at least 1L and strain the the heavy cream into the bowl. Leave there.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk mixture that’s been infusing and gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. ***NOTE Till it just coats! Any longer and you get soggy scrambled eggs. It only takes a few seconds so watch carefully!)***
  5. Pour the custard into the heavy cream. Stir or whisk, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
  6. Remove the vanilla bean, strain the mixture (don’t forget to squeeze every last drop out of the tea leaves) and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. When the ice cream starts to freeze/solidify… TASTE IT! If it’s too bitter, add more heavy cream/condensed milk/evaporated milk/coffee cream (anything BUT milk) and add more sweetness: agave, simple syrup, brown sugar dissolved in boiling water, honey – adjust the flavour to whatever you think will taste best.

Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

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