Tea-Infused Custard Ice Cream: Photo Tutorial

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Video How to make tea infused ice cream

Recently we made two videos wherein we adapted a custard ice cream recipe to include tea. We tried other recipes, but a custard base makes the creamiest, smoothest end result. The recipe we started with was in an older (2008) edition of the Taste of Home Cookbook.

After further development, we finalized the recipe for our tea-infused ice cream. Our recipes are light on the sweetener, so feel free to double the sweetener and the salt if you prefer a sweeter treat.

To make very soft tea-infused ice cream, start by brewing your favorite tea in heavy whipping cream rather than water. Strain the leaves out and add sweetener and salt. Add a little of the brewed mixture to beaten eggs to temper them, then incorporate the eggs into the custard along with more cream.

Heat the mixture until it coats a metal spoon, then cool quickly in an ice water bath. Use plastic wrap to set the custard and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Churn according to the directions on your ice cream maker. Add optional stir-ins like fudge ripple or nuts as desired.

Click here to watch us make ice cream with smoky lapsang souchong tea on our YouTube channel.

Why We Chose a Custard Base

We experimented with recipes that don’t include eggs but they just don’t get as thick and creamy. Raw eggs are an option but only if you know your farmer because of the risk of Salmonella, a food-borne illness that can be found in raw eggs.

We tried simple smoothie recipes but even with ice blended in they just don’t give you that fatty mouthfeel that makes ice cream so tasty.

Using a custard base proved to be the magic touch for our tea-infused ice cream, making it rich, creamy, and smooth. We used twice as many eggs as the original recipe specified, contributing to a very soft texture.

Why We Brewed the Tea Into the Cream in Our Tea-Infused Ice Cream

Tea is usually brewed in water, but adding tea to the ice cream would mean changing the consistency. Raw tea leaves would give the ice cream a crunch but would not extract the flavor of the tea. Brewing the liquid already in the recipe was simple because the custard base already needed to be cooked to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why We Used Cream Instead of Milk in Our Tea-Infused Ice Cream

The reason we love ice cream is because of its fatty, smooth mouth feel. You can use milk (or a plant milk substitute) in this recipe, but your results will not be as rich. You could up the ante by using evaporated milk, but you will get a lot more sugar that way, and the results will be much sweeter. The original recipe used half milk and half cream. You can substitute milk for half the cream if you want a harder ice cream.

How We Chose Which Tea To Use in Our Tea-Infused Ice Cream

Cold foods have to be more intense than hot foods because the cold decreases the movement of the molecules and your taste buds don’t get as much stimulation. When you brew iced tea, you double the amount of tea leaves to make sure you get enough flavor.

Frozen foods require even more flavor, so we used 3 tablespoons of leaves in a cup of cream rather than one teaspoon as you would when brewing a cup of hot tea. That’s nine times the leaves!

To make sure your tea translates to a strong ice cream flavor, choose the strongest teas in your pantry. The first time we made this ice cream, we used three strong flavors:

  • Harney and Sons Pumpkin Spice,
  • Stash Decaf Pumpkin Spice,
  • Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Herbal. That ice cream was fabulous but very sweet.

The next tea we tried was Harney and Sons Lapsang Souchong, which when brewed hot is like drinking a campfire. We doubled the leaves and halved the sweetener, but it was milder than we liked, so we did a second batch with 3 tablespoons per cup and that was seriously smoky.

This time around we wanted a sweet treat, so we chose Tiesta Nutty Almond Crunch, which is so tasty that you might have to fight the urge to eat the ingredients. Nutty Almond Crunch is actually a tisane because it contains no actual tea, but you brew it like tea. If you use our discount code TEABOOKS10 you will save 10% on your purchase.

If you love the taste of strong black tea, a Darjeeling or Scottish breakfast would translate well to ice cream. Strongly flavored herbals such as dandelion are a possibility if you want your ice cream to be a little more on the savory end of the spectrum.

Why We Chose Molasses for our Tea-Infused Ice Cream

Molasses has a dark, deep flavor that translates well to frozen foods without losing its sweetness. We love deeper flavors in our tea, and molasses stands up well to the competition. We tried monkfruit sweetener, and it was good, but we just needed that extra undertone that dark molasses provides.

Molasses lowers the temperature at which ice cream freezes, so using it instead of granulated sugar will add extra churning time and make the ice cream very soft. Honey will have the same result.

How the Tea-Infused Ice Cream Tasted

With a whole lot of tea flavor and not much sugar, the taste of this batch of ice cream was dark, rich, and spicy, just as we intended. Doubling the molasses would have given it a more familiar sweet taste. The Nutty Almond Crunch was the star of this dessert.

Thanks for reading my blog! Be sure to come back often to learn more about tea and books. Check out our YouTube channel “Tea and a Good Book” to see me drinking tea and reviewing books with my daughter Emma.

Until we meet again, make time for Tea and a Good Book!

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