Homemade mint ice cream is always on the menu (or at least we think it should be). —INGRAIN, Summer 2019
RECIPE / Dana Cree
Mint ice cream is rarely eaten without chips of chocolate and a squeeze of green food dye. It’s really too bad, because the flavor of fresh mint leaves steeped in ice cream is light, fresh, and a far cry from the bracing green scoops. The flavor in conventional mint ice creams has little to do with the mint leaf and more to do with the menthol compounds that make peppermint flavoring.
If you have fresh peppermint leaves, lucky you! Use them in this recipe and omit the peppermint extract. However, for most of us there is no peppermint patch out the back door, and we must employ both the fresh spearmint leaves (aka standard grocery-store mint) and a touch of peppermint extract. (If you can find peppermint oil, use that instead! It’s cleaner flavored than the extract, which often combines peppermint oil and alcohol.)
I think a white mint ice cream is quite lovely, but if mint ice cream doesn’t taste like mint to you unless it’s green, you have options. Green food coloring is obvious, or you can follow the instructions for tinting ice cream green with spirulina (details provided in Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream). Sam Mason at Oddfellows Ice Cream in Brooklyn blends a portion of his mint ice cream base with fresh mint leaves moments before the ice cream is churned, capturing the chlorophyll from the green leaves before it oxidizes. (If you do this, be sure not to run the blender for more than a few seconds, or you may turn the cream to butter.)
— DANA SALLS* CREE
Pairing This bright but rich and creamy mint ice cream pairs beautifully with C&LM Radler (Goose Island), a light, effervescent warm-weather ale brewed with cucumber, mint, and lime (available only in variety packs this summer).
Makes just over 1 quart of ice cream
Cream (38%) 380g | 2 cups
Milk (40%) 400g | 2 cups
Sugar (15%) 150g | ¾ cup
Glucose (5%) 50g | ¼ cup
Milk powder (2%) 20g | 3 tablespoons
Fresh mint, stems and leaves 25g | 1 ounce (about 1 handful)
Peppermint oil (or extract) 1g | ¼ teaspoon
Texture agent (of your choice)
1 BEST TEXTURE
Commercial stabilizer 3g | 1 teaspoon mixed with the sugar before it is added to the dairy.
2 LEAST ICY Guar or xanthan gum 1g | ¼ teaspoon whirled in a blender with the ice cream base after it is chilled in the ice bath.
3 EASIEST TO USE
Tapioca starch 5g | 2 teaspoons mixed with 20g | 2 tablespoons of cold milk, whisked into the ice cream base after it is finished cooking.
4 MOST ACCESSIBLE
Cornstarch 10g | 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, mixed with 20g | 2 tablespoons of cold milk, whisked into the simmering ice cream base, then cooked for 1 minute.
Boil the dairy. Place the cream, milk, sugar, and glucose in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally to discourage the milk from scorching, until it comes to a full rolling boil.
Add and cook the milk powder. Whisk the milk powder mixture into the pot. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue cooking for 2 minutes (texture agent 4, cook for 1 minute), whisking to prevent scorching (texture agent 3, whisk into ice cream base after it is finished cooking).
Infuse the mint. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the fresh mint, and allow it to infuse for 30 minutes.
Strain and chill. Strain the base through a fine-mesh sieve into a shallow metal or glass bowl, discarding the mint. Working quickly, fill a large bowl two-thirds of the way with very icy ice water. Nest the hot bowl into this ice bath, stirring occasionally until it cools down (texture agent 2, whirl in a blender when ice cream base is cool).
Add the peppermint oil. When the base is cool to the touch (50°F or below), stir in the peppermint oil.
Cure. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours, or preferably overnight. (This step is optional, but the texture will be much improved with it.)
Churn. Place the base into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is ready when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream and holds its shape, typically 20 to 30 minutes.
Harden. To freeze your ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer it to a container with an airtight lid. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming, cover, and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely, between 4 and 12 hours. Or, feel free to enjoy your ice cream immediately; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.
For the inside scoop on Dana Salls Cree's Chicago pop shop, check out Pretty Cool.
*Reprinted from Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream© 2017 by Dana Cree. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.