Here’s the gelato in a bowl. See how delicate the colour is? You can also see I have a LOT of stainless steel in my kitchen!
This is my current favourite ice cream. I would never buy mint choc chip ice cream, because it’s just not my thing, but this home made version is, I promise you, delicious. Unless you really hate the taste of mint, but even then I’d urge you to give it a try.
You can easily leave the chocolate out, but together this makes for a near perfect ice cream in my blog. Which this is.
I tend to make my ice cream in small quantities as the fresher it is, the nicer it is. By all means double or treble the amounts, it’s easy to do. This makes about half a litre, which I find is ample for four greedy people.
375ml of cream and milk. You need cream AND milk. Don’t be tempted to use one or t’other because to make ice cream you need both (i.e. not just this flavour). This has something to do with the way the fats mix up and interact. Don’t ask me cos I never listen properly when my dad tries to explain it to me in the same way that I still don’t really understand about what that white powder is he’s given me to put into sorbets. Because I never have whole milk in the house, but I nearly always have double cream, I tend to use 250ml of double cream and 125ml of semi skimmed milk. If you have more or less of one or t’other don’t worry. I’ve also done it with 300ml double cream and 75ml semi-skimmed milk. You get the idea.
15g mint leaves. Don’t be tempted to use anything else, such as mint flavour. Urgh, forget it.
70g caster sugar
50g 70% cocoa chocolate if using
In a blender or food processor (I use the little chopper attachment on my Braun MultiStick thing), blend together the milk, cream and mint leaves. The mint leaves should go down to tiny pieces, but don’t over do it or the cream will curdle (however, you’d have to be really stupid to go this far). Pour the whole lot into a sauce pan, and bring to just below boiling point. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 mins. Don’t let it boil, stir it a bit. You’ll see the cream/milk mixture become infused with the mint colour and it will go to a lovely green colour. However, it won’t be that lurid dark green pretend-mint-colour you get in shop bought ice cream. Think Farrow and Ball hues instead.
Turn off the heat and let it cool for a bit. Now you can either strain it so that the leafy minty bits stay out or leave them in. Try both and see how you prefer it. Obviously one will give you ice cream speckled with tiny green bits, one won’t. Perhaps if you’re adding the chocolate then having the mint in as well might be overkill.
Whilst that’s cooling, get a heat-proof bowl (important) that will fit over the sauce pan (important) and take the whole egg (not just the yolk, which is usual in custard-base ice cream) and whisk up with the sugar until it’s light and thick. Then slowly mix in the (sieved if you’re going to) milk/cream/mint mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. Pour some water into the pan which just had the milk/cream/mint mixture in (doesn’t matter that it’s dirty you’re not drinking it) and place the bowl containing the ice cream mixture on top. The idea is to make custard, so stir as the water underneath boils, and keep stirring until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, which it will do pretty quickly really. Whole process should take about 5-10 mins. Now you’re done, so take the bowl off the sauce pan, let it cool for a few minutes then cover the actual surface with cling film/baking parchment. The reason you need it to touch the actual surface is so a skin doesn’t form.
Let it cool for about an hour, then put it in the fridge. You can keep it for up to 24 hours before making ice cream but once it’s cooled right down in the fridge (say a few hours) then you can whack it in the ice cream maker.
Once that’s churning, chop the chocolate really small. I sort of semi shave it. When the ice cream has finished, you can just stir through the chocolate. The ice cream will be pretty soft still as all ice cream out of an ice cream maker is soft-ish. Either eat it now or put it in a freezer container and let it harden up more for later.
If you want to read about ice cream makers you can do so here.