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Jul 5, 2006 04:24 PM

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!

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  1. 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.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      I had my thermometer in, but I think because of the cast iron, it didn't cool down fast enough. Next time I do it, I think I'll stick to low heat. I used three tea bags of Earl Grey, and got a nice, but not overwhelming, Earl Grey flavor.

      1. re: cheryl_h

        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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pei

            That's what has happened to me in the past. The stupid medium heat in the recipe distracted me -- I should just go by my own instincts. But so you know -- if you do get curdled custard, a whiz in the food processor and another egg yolk make it quite fixed again.

          2. 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?).

            2 Replies
            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              The recipe for EGT ice cream is in her cookbook, and it's fabulous.

              1. re: Amuse Bouches

                Oh yes, I absolutely love her cookbook. She's a genius, and having the recipes for all those wonderful things I ate at GT, and so much more, is a blessing.

            2. 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.