Fresh Mint Ice Cream
It's almost summer, and with the weather warming up, I can think of few things better suited to beating the heat than mint ice cream.
Unlike most recipes, this one uses fresh mint leaves, rather than mint extract and food coloring. As a result, it lacks the unnatural alien-green color and cloying sweetness that you might normally associate with mint ice cream. Unlike some of the other ice cream recipes I've posted here, this one doesn't use eggs. While the use of eggs can give you an incredibly rich and decadent ice cream, I think the lighter consistency you get from this egg-free recipe is better suited to the mint flavor, and the fact that you're probably going to be eating this on a hot summer day. To that end, this recipe also uses a higher ratio of half & half to cream than usual (most recipes I've found, and made, use a 1:1 ratio, or something close to it).
Note that when I describe this ice cream as "light," I'm referring to the flavor, texture, and mouthfeel. You won't be mistaking this for diet food, I assure you.
And if you have yor own mint plant, you're probably aware that it tends to grow faster than you can harvest it, so any additional use for the leaves is always welcome.
Fresh Mint Ice Cream
- 1 quart half & half
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 or 2 drops vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
Combine the cream, half & half, and mint leaves in a blender. Puree until no large pieces of mint remain. Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan, and add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Over medium-low heat, stir the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved, and the liquid is hot, but not quite boiling.
Remove the ice cream mix from the heat, and allow it to come down to room temperature. Pour the mix into an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.
When you're ready to freeze the ice cream, strain the mixture to remove any large chunks of mint leaf, and any bits of cream that might have clotted.
Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place the finished ice cream in an airtight container, and keep in the freezer for at least 2 hours, until it's firm.