Earl Grey Ice Cream
Inspired by so many of these wonderful ice cream threads, I decided to make earl grey ice cream for the 4th of July (it's just not the 4th without homemade ice cream to me). I used this recipe from Epicurious
only I added about 3 Earl Grey teabags to the heating milk, and used superfine sugar. Added the hot milk to the eggs in the cuisinart using a turkey baster, and it was nice and smooth.
Things went awry when I transferred it to a pan to thicken. Here's a question for the ice cream veterans: when I first transfer the mixture back to the pan, it's very foamy, and you can't tell how thick it is really because the foam coats the spoon. I don't know if I just cooked it too, long, or if my favorite Le Creuset is just too heat conductive, or if the recommendation for medium heat is just a bad idea idea, but despite constant stirring, it curdled.
At this point, I was despondent. My kitchen was a mess -- between the food processor, and the heated milk pan, and the other sauce pan, and the dish for the egg whites (for later pavlovas) and the turkey baster I had used a lot of dishes, and either had to start over or have nothing to show for it. Had the bright idea of returning it to the food processor and blending away the curds, adding an extra egg yolk for good measure. Ended up with smooth, perfectly textured ice cream "batter", and if there was any eggy flavor it was unnoticeable under the tea.
Chilled it a few hours, added the whipped cream, and froze it. Delicious!
I like making the Earl Grey gelato recipe from Cooking Light. It's very simple. I sometimes use half and half in place of the milk. I make it using the Creme de la Earl Grey tea from Tealuxe (stupid name, but the tea is fantastic... tastes like cupcakes!).
Here's the recipe:
The tea mixture may appear curdled after you add the milk, but this is expected and will result in nice creamy gelato after freezing.
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 Earl Grey tea bags (or 5 tsp loose tea)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Combine water and sugar in a large saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and add tea bags or leaves. Cover and steep 5 minutes; discard tea bags or strain out tea leaves. Stir in juice and cool completely. Stir in milk (or 1/2 & 1/2). Freeze in ice cream maker.
Glad there was a happy ending. Looks delicious. I have yet to make any tea-infused ice cream, but that's definitely on the radar. I should try Claudia's recipe since I like "chewy."
As others said, I think medium heat is too high; the immediate foaming is an indicator. I always heat on low and slooooowly bring it up to 170-175F, constantly stirring. When I've had the heat at medium, it has curdled.
I hadn't tried the recipe before, but it came highly recommended on chowhound, and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I think the prewhipping of the cream led to faster churning time -- it didn't seem to take as long as it usually does, but I was paying attention.
A little lighter than the last Earl Grey Tea ice cream I made (July 4 of 2004) which was from Claudia Fleming's book -- that was almost chewy.
I like a little orange or lemon zest steeped with the tea to bring out the bergamot. Why did you use the cuisinart? Just whisk your eggs and sugar, they don't need to be fluffy or foamy. Also, always have your ice bowl at the ready to chill your custard. Once you get comfortable with stovetop custards, you can even cook them on high heat!
Oh, OK, I just read the recipe - that seems really counterintuitive to me on several points. Seems like whipping the cream before churning could easily lead to overchurning of the butterfat. Interesting.
I agree with the others.....I think your heat setting may have been a bit high, and as you said - your cast iron pan retained that heat and in some sense may have augmented it. Your fix sounds super! If I mistakenly curdle the eggs when doing a custard based ice cream, I just strain it through a fine sieve and continue on.
I'm glad you saved your creation. While I'm not a huge fan of Earl Grey for drinking, it can add exquisite flavor to desserts. I first had Earl Grey ice cream served alongside a warm chocolate cake at Gramercy Tavern in NYC some years ago, and it's a wonderful pairing with dark chocolate (why wouldn't Claudia Fleming have thought of that?).
Usually when I make a custard based ice cream, the foaminess thins out and all but disappears just when the custard becomes thick enough to coat a spoon. But I agree that low heat is best. How long did you stir? It takes much longer than I normally have patience for, but it's well worth it when it goes right.
I haven't made enough custard based ice creams to know the answer to your question..but I had to share that I recently made minted earl grey sorbet and it was fantastic! The mint really added to the flavor of the earl grey (I personally thought it wouldn't go well together). It's definetly something to try the next time you make the earl grey ice cream.
It looks good. I'm glad to hear you solved the problem relatively easily. How much Earl Grey flavor did you get? I'm eager to try making tea-flavored ice cream/gelato but not sure how much tea to add. Did you taste the mixture before freezing?
I don't know what the cause of your curdling problem is, just too high a setting on the stove? I use my instant-reading thermometer when I'm making a custard with eggs. When it gets to around 160 degrees I take it off the heat and stir like crazy. Haven't had a curdled custard yet.
THANK YOU! Finally someone who answered my question of the ideal temperature for custard for ice cream. I just curdled my most recent batch (I used whole milk vs. cream so I wasn't sure if it had anything to do with fat content). I'm still going through with it (it's churning as I write), so we'll see if it still works. At least next time I'll know to keep track of the temperature. Even though this is a five year old posting, thanks nonetheless.