May 24, 2010

Monday Sweets: Fresh Mint-Oreo Light Ice Cream

Fresh mint lends a natural flavor to ice cream more like a stick of Winterfresh gum than the mild candy-like mint of store-bought varieties. It's amazingly refreshing in this light frozen treat and leaves your tongue feeling cool and cleansed at the end of a meal. Oreos add a hint of chocolate and crunch to the mint recipe from the May Cooking Light.

The minty fresh flavor comes from steaming fresh mint leaves in milk.

Then you strain the mint leaves out. That leafy texture wouldn't be so pleasant in ice cream.

The minty milk then gets whisked with classic ice cream ingredients sugar, eggs, and cream before it's all cooked together in a saucepan.

What I forgot to photograph was me unleashing violent beating on Oreos enclosed in a ziplock baggie to get them good and crumbled. I like a mix of fine crumbs to chocofy the white mint cream and chunks to add texture and concentrated cookie flavor like that in Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.

I used Cusinart ice cream maker that makes things super easy. You just freeze the bowl (no ice!) and plug in the cord. It only makes about 4 servings though.

Fresh Mint-Oreo Ice Cream

2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
1  cup  half-and-half
1  (1-ounce) package fresh mint sprigs
3/4  cup  sugar
Dash of salt
2  large egg yolks
1 cup Oreo crumbs

1. Combine milk, half-and-half, and mint sprigs in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat milk mixture to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Pour milk mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl, pressing slightly with a wooden spoon; discard solids. Return liquid to pan.

3. Place sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a bowl; stir with a whisk until pale. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Pour egg yolk mixture into pan with remaining milk mixture; cook over medium-low heat until a thermometer registers 160° (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. (I didn’t measure temperature and just waited until it almost boiled.) Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl until custard cools completely, stirring occasionally. (I just put it in the fridge.) Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions, adding Oreo crumbs when the ice cream is almost done. Drain ice water from freezer bucket; repack with salt and ice. Cover with kitchen towels, and let stand 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with extra Oreo crumbs if you desire.

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