Matcha (Green Tea) and Vanilla Ice Creams

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
My ice cream experiments began with a purchase of matcha (green tea) powder at Cally's Teas on 99th street. When I mentioned to Cally that I was going to try to mimic a certain commercial green tea smoothie and would try ice cream if I had an ice cream maker, she generously lent me hers for the summer and I got a bit distracted from the smoothie project.

You can, of course, make ice cream without an ice cream maker. The idea is to keep a liquid in motion as it is being frozen to keep the ice crystals small. You could, for example, put it into a container and stir at intervals til it is the right consistency.

Inexpensive dairy products and flavourings are not always easy to find. Planet Organic, my neighborhood organic store, marks down dairy case items that are close to the sell by date so my usual tactic is to drop by and note down dates for the things I would use, then come back on those days to see if there is any left. I actually prefer the pronounced tang of yogurt and sour cream that are a bit beyond fresh. Last week I scored 3 2L jugs of organic whole goat milk for 49 cents each , which I am using to make ricotta. Ebay is the best source that I know of for good quality, inexpensive vanilla beans.

The first matcha ice cream I tried had a custard base and melted richly in the mouth, but was slightly eggy tasting and did not make the cut here due to expense and difficulty. In the end I just started with a base, like cream or coconut cream, added flavouring, then added sugar and salt to taste. Coconut matcha was cheapest (and vegan) to make. This was also my roommate's favourite, however there was a slight heaviness on the tongue from the coconut cream that I didn't care for.

If you are developing the mixture by taste, keep in mind that a frozen flavour experience is less intense than that of the hot or room temperature mixture. For matcha ice creams, the salt should be just enough to bring out the vegetal quality of the matcha. Also, vanilla is not sweet by itself but intensifies sweetness in other things so if you use it you will need less sugar. For each mixture chill thoroughly, freeze with ice cream maker or other method, then scoop into a container and put in freezer til firm. Matcha recipes make about 2 cups of ice cream; vanilla recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Think I will go and see if Cally has some masala chai. Think chai ice cream would be fantastic.

Matcha ice cream

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tbs matcha dissolved in about 2 tbs hot water

Mix together before chilling

Coconut matcha ice cream

14 oz (340 ml) can coconut cream
3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs matcha powder dissolved in about 2 tbs hot water

Mix together before chilling

Vanilla ice cream

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tbs sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
2 inch piece of vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out. (I go a bit crazy with vanilla - this is a lot for this much ice cream. You can use half this much vanilla bean, if desired, for tasty results.)

Mix ingredients together, then heat gently to not quite boiling to steep the vanilla bean. Strain before freezing step.


sam said...

They all sound wonderful! I think the match coconut ice cream sounds extremely intriguing!

Pepper said...

Coconut ginger matcha and chai ice creams

We've been doing some more experimenting.

For chai, steep three tablespoons of masala chai in one and a half cups of half and half for ten minutes, then add three and a half tablespoons of sugar before freezing.

For coconut ginger matcha, dissolve two tablespoons of matcha in heated coconut milk (I used 55% coconut milk instead of coconut cream this time and it was fantastic) and use about a two inch piece of ginger, minced and put through a garlic press. Use more ginger than you think you will need because of the fact that freezing dulls flavours. Stir a quarter cup of sugar and let sit overnight; strain before freezing. This one was fantastic, the best yet.