Sunday, October 12, 2008

Now this is my cup of tea...

I love making homemade ice cream with exotic flavors like saffron or thai tea. Thai tea or “cha yen” is a strong black tea flavored with one of my favorite spices, star anise. It’s great with sweetened condensed milk and if you were me, lots of cream and sugar. Why not take it a step further and make ice cream out of thai iced tea? Here is my recipe for a French custard based ice cream infused with thai tea!

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
4 thai tea bags (fill large tea filters with 3-4 teaspoons of thai tea and tie tea filters with a tight knot).
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 and ¼ cups of sugar
¾ cup roasted cashews(optional)

Combine milk and cream in a saucier or heavy duty sauce pan. Add tea bags and allow to steep. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Use an automatic hand mixer to beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar for a couple of minutes. Temper the egg mixture by pouring out one cup of the hot liquid into the egg and sugar mixture. With the mixer on low speed, add the cup of hot milk and cream in a slow steady stream. When thoroughly combined, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine. Cook gently and constantly for about 4 minutes. Don’t leave this unattended or you will end up with scrambled eggs in your ice cream. Transfer to a bowl and chill completely(tea bags included). Cover with plastic wrap. Making great ice cream is a two day process so allow for flavors to marry for at least 12 hours. Take tea bags out of the custard mix before making into ice cream. Add cashews or your favorite nut into the custard mix for a crunchy texture. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. I use a Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream maker. It's great for making sorbets and homemade ice cream. Transfer to a covered plastic container and put in the freezer for a couple of hours before eating.

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