This is perhaps my favorite ice-cream flavor, taking me straight back to a shopping mall in Matsuyama with my best friend in Japan. We lived in tiny fishing villages so the opportunity to be in a bigger city make us bonkers. Whenever we were called to out prefecture’s capital for meetings, we would stumble into a karaoke bar. In Japan karaoke is not performed in front of a group of strangers, you have your own private room. In this room there is a telephone which you can use to order ice-cream and alcohol. I cannot tell you how often I had champagne and green tea ice-cream for dinner while belting out We Are the World.
I don’t expect you to relate.
Green tea ice-cream is found on every corner of Japan, but it can be a challenge to find stateside. Here it is a specialty flavor, rolled out periodically before vanishing from the freezer shelves. At times I deeply crave the herbal, earthy flavor, so I created a recipe of my own. This recipe is authentic and delicious. It’s not overly sweet, but it’s perfectly balanced. I use matcha powder (the green tea used in tea ceremonies in Japan) which can be found in Asian stores, some specialty stores or online. It is a splurge, but well worth it if you love the flavor. It also has amazing health benefits, so you can call this treat a health food. An alternative to matcha powder is to grind green tea into a powder and strain it through a fine sieve.
Green Tea (Matcha) Ice-Cream
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c milk
2 T matcha powder
3 T water that has boiled, but then sat for five minutes
5 egg yolks
1/3 c sugar
1. Heat the cream and the milk in a medium saucepan over a medium high flame, stirring often so a skin doesn’t form. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. In the mean time, heat the water and let it sit. After 5 minutes, add the matcha powder and whisk until dissolved. Set aside.
2. Use a mixer to combine the egg yolks and sugar. Mix on a medium-high speed until mixture is thick and pale yellow. This takes about 3 minutes.
3. Take 1 cup of the hot cream and SLOWLY add it to the egg yolk mixture. This tempers the yolks, so they won’t scramble. Now add the yolk mixture to the pan. Add the green tea mixture as well. Stir and heat until just under a boil. Remove mixture from heat.
4. If you want perfection, strain the mixture through a sieve (optional). Place plastic wrap directly on top of the ice-cream base and chill in your refrigerator. Once cold, follow your ice-cream maker’s directions. Enjoy!