Adapted from Simply Recipes Chai Ice Cream, this version uses Saigon Chai tea from David’s Tea. I served it as the grand finale of the Indian feast I prepared for Dr. T’s birthday supper, earlier this week.
If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, there are plenty of Internet sites with non-machine methods, including David Lebovitz’s, so there’s nothing stopping you! If you DO have a machine, don’t forget to freeze the bowl well in advance.
Whether you have a machine or not, this is not a fast process – I started mine first thing in the morning, did the machine churning mid-afternoon, and had perfect ice cream late evening.
1 star anise star
1/4 cup Saigon Chai tea
1 cup of milk
2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
3/4 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
1 In a heavy saucepan, heat the 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of the cream, the star anise and the chai until steamy (not boiling) and hot to the touch. Lower the heat to warm, cover, and let stand for about one hour. Don’t worry if it seems really strong – once it’s frozen, it’ll be perfect.
2 Use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the tea and spices, pouring the infused milk cream mixture into a separate bowl. Return the milk cream mixture back to the heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar to the milk cream mixture and heat, stirring, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
3 Meanwhile, prepare the remaining 1 cup of cream over an ice bath. Pour the cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
4 Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. VERY slowly, pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
5 Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10-15 minutes. AS SOON AS IT THICKENS, the mixture should be removed from heat and poured through the sieve over the ice bath to stop the cooking.
6 Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking. Once it’s cooled, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.
7 Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
8 Store in an airtight container in your freezer for several hours before eating. Note that the ice cream will be quite soft coming out of the ice cream maker. It will continue harden in your freezer. If stored for more than a day, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes to soften before attempting to scoop it.
Makes 1 quart.