Sunday, February 03, 2008

"No ice cream maker" green tea ice cream

I think I broke some kind of cooking record this week. I made the same recipe four times. Green tea ice cream. The first time I made it, it was so good I wished I had made more. I also couldn't believe how easy it was, and that it did not require an ice cream maker. I found the recipe in one of my new Harumi cookbooks, and I had all the ingredients on hand (eggs, sugar, milk, cream) except for the matcha powder, which was easy enough to find. I've never cooked with matcha powder before. It's a very fine powder similar in consistency to talc and is made from dried, de-stemmed, de-veined, stone-ground green tea leaves. It's so delicate that you worry that one wrong breath will send it flying across the room in a green cloud.

I just had to see if I could improve upon the recipe by using high-quality, high fat, heavy cream and milk, and whether it would make a difference if I processed the ice cream in an ice cream maker. When I switched from conventional store-bought milk and cream to Ronnybrook heavy cream and creamline milk (not ultra-pasteurized and not homogenized, high in fat). I got a very creamy ice cream, but it was very soft even after freezing for a day. I did some research and found this article on David Lebovitz' blog that explains the higher the fat content, the softer the ice cream. Surprisingly, I would rather have harder ice cream at the expense of less creaminess (and it was wonderfully creamy the first time around anyway) and would stick to the conventional milk and cream.

Processing it in an ice cream maker, which is supposed to make lighter and creamer ice cream, did not seem to change the texture, but it did make things marginally easier. When making ice cream in the freezer, you have to vigorously stir the ice cream every couple of hours to break up any ice particles that form to ensure maximum creaminess. This is simple, but requires some monitoring. Apparently, custard-based ice creams can easily be made without an ice cream maker. I might not do it this way every time, but it was kinda fun and low tech in a refreshing sort of way.

I loved the recipe and might only make a couple of modifications: 1) heat the milk/cream/sugar/egg mixture over low heat (being careful to not let it come to a boil) until it coats the back of a spoon - most of the other recipes I looked at incorporate this step which gives a little peace of mind about ensuring the eggs are cooked (if, like me, you are concerned about this sort of thing), and thickens it, and 2) strain that mixture through a fine sieve before adding in the lightly whipped cream to make sure it's perfectly smooth.

Another tip I learned is to chill the final mixture in the refrigerator for an hour or two before freezing it. A cooler mixture will freeze much more quickly.


Green tea ice cream (adapted from Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking)
(recipe says it serves four but I would double the quantity for four)

2 tablespoons green tea powder (matcha)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream

1. In a small bow, mix the green tea powder with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks and remaining sugar.

3. Pour the milk into a small pan and gently heat taking care not to let it boil (ideally the temperature of the milk should be 176 degrees F). Remove the from the heat and mix a few spoonfuls of the warm milk with the green tea powder and sugar in a small bowl. When you have a smooth paste, add it to the remaining milk in the pan, then gradually combine with the egg yolk mixture.

4. Return mixture to the stove and heat slowly over low heat (taking care to not let the mixture boil), until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, and allow to cool completely.

5. Lightly whip the cream and then add it to the cold green tea-milk mixture.

6. Transfer the mixture to a large container and [chill for an hour or two in the refrigerator] and then put it in the freezer. As ice crystals start to form, remove, and mix well with a spoon (use a wooden spoon and stir very vigorously) to break them up and return the mixture to the freezer. Repeat this a few times as it freezes to ensure that the ice cream is smooth.

66 comments:

Katia said...

Sounds quite yummy! I have made cantaloupe sorbet this way and find it works really well. I have been wanting to use Matcha powder- this sounds like a great idea.

The photo of the spoon is really beautiful- I look forward to looking at your photos. :)

Peabody said...

Pretty photos. I love to drink green tea...but I try and try it in desserts and it just doesn't do it for me. I know one day I will find a green tea dessert I love...perhaps this!

Pille said...

Lovely photos - and coincidentally, I have been thinking of making matcha ice cream myself recently :)

catchall fan in brooklyn said...

Beautiful and delicious looking post.

amy said...

Very cool and quite beautiful. I never knew you could make ice cream without an ice cream maker. Good to know!

Annemarie said...

I love the shot of the matcha powder. I can imagine it going wonderfully in an ice cream. For some reason, I really want to make ice cream kid-style, with a couple of plastic bags, ice, and salt, though I doubt it would be a marvel to taste.

Emiline said...

Look at the color of that ice cream! So vibrant.
I have a desire to make this, for sure.
And it's healthy for us, right?

Gigi said...

The color of the ice cream is surreal. Fantastic photos. I have just recently started to make my own ice cream. I will have to print this recipe and try it out. Thanks!

Brilynn said...

Since losing my ice cream maker I haven't tried making ice cream without it but this I will definitely have to try, it looks awesome!

Katy said...

Oh my gosh that looks amazing! Since I live on my own I never have any freezer space but that seriously is making me reconsider. Also can I ask you a question on your photos? I want to take pictures with that shallow depth of frame but I cant quite figure it out on my point and shoot kind of camera, any tips for me?

skrockodile said...

Thanks Katia - that's so nice to hear!
Peabody: if you like green tea but just are not digging it in baked goods then this is for you.
Thanks pille, alison, amy, gigi, brilynn for commenting
That's sounds like fun annemarie : )
emiline: so not healthy - but a little cream and sugar never hurt!
Katy: it doesn't take up that much space and you should eat it within a week or so - so it won't live there long! re: your question, if you have a macro button on your point and shoot (the button with the flower icon) you should be able to get that shallow depth of field. focus on the the area you want in focus and the front and back should blur. You won't have that much control (change the distance between you and the subject and the subject and what's behind to play around and see what happens) but you should be able to get that effect.

Kevin said...

Green tea ice cream is one of my favorites. I made some with white chocolate as the sweetener. Great photos!!

Alita said...

hello :) It's so nice to find you recipe, I am a newbie with matcha and I don't have an ice-cream machine :)
But ice cream seems the perfect way to start experimenting with matcha :)
Will report results later :)
Cheers!

Roopa said...

hey this is the perfect green tea ice cream I have been looking all over. Loved your pic to bits:) I dont have matcha powder handy now, but i have some green tea tea bags for making green tea, i dont mind tearing open a few of those tea bags and powder them in my spice grinder and use it to make those ice cream?? Is that an option, please reply as your pic is so tempting to try NOW :)

skrockodile said...

No Roopa don't do that - green tea leaves for "normal" green tea are not the same as matcha powder and I think that might be sort of disastrous! Hold out for the real thing - it's easily found in Japanese markets or at many specialty tea stores that sell tea leaves.

Roopa said...

Thank you :) but i feel so bad that I cant have the ice cream on my computer screen :(( ....anyways glad to have found your recipe:)

aquadisia said...

I made this last night--it's delicious! The texture is very creamy, but a bit too sweet for my tastes, though my BF will love it! I'm amazed at how easy it was to make. I wanted to make this because a little hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant here has the best green tea ice cream I've ever had and it tastes as if there is a bit of molasses in it. I'm going to try that next time. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

skrockodile said...

Hi Aquadisia! I'm so glad you tried it and thanks for circling back to let me know : ). Molasses? Really? Interesting. You can certainly fiddle with the sugar a bit to make it less sweet. Isn't it crazy how easy it is? Thanks again!
-S.

Jessy said...

Hey- where do you get your matcha from? It's stupidly expensive here, and I can only get it by going an hour and a half away (which is a long time for an english person!)
I have some, and the fist thing I'm making is this ice cream!

skrockodile (sabra) said...

I usually get it from either a Japanese supermarket or a specialty tea store. At a tea store, you can buy it by the ounce, and you don't need much. Hope that helps.

Andrew said...

I didn't like this at all, I'm afraid. For me, the sugar and eggs overwhelmed the green tea flavour completely.

skrockodile (sabra) said...

Sorry to hear that Andrew! :(
I thought it was divine - but I also wonder if differences in matcha could contribute?

emily said...

its looks yummyyyy! can i use castor sugar/icing sugar instead?

skrockodile (sabra) said...

Hi Emily!
Castor sugar (what is also called superfine sugar) is absolutely fine to use in the same quantity as regular granulated sugar (in fact it might even be better - it's the same, just finer granules) but icing sugar is something different - that's confectioner's sugar and it a fine powder - and I would not substitute with that. Hope that helps.
Best,
Sabra

Sydney said...

Thanks for posting this! I've been loonking for a good green tea recipe that doesn't require an ice cream maker. The only time I get to eat it is when my boyfriend and I go out for sushi once a month, so I want to be able to make it at home.

Neko-chan said...

this is a great recipe!! thanks so much for sharing! however, when i first tried this there was too much sugar and it spoiled the flavor of the matcha, so for my next attempt i cut the amount of sugar in half and it worked out great. im going to have to get some more matcha and make this again!!

kumichan83 said...

amazing photos and wonderful recipe! i am definitely going to try it if i can get a hold of matcha around these parts. my brother used to work with harumi :)

Kitchen Corner said...

Hi,
May I know whether the recipe can use ice cream maker? Is the procedure the same?

skrockodile (sabra) said...

Hi Kitchen corner.
I'm quite sure you can and the process would be the same except of course you'd churn and then freeze without having to break up the ice crystals over time.

Taan said...

My husband and I love love love green tea ice cream. We had it almost every Saturday for the past 4 months at the Japanese Restaurant.

I really have to try to make this as soon as I find all the ingredient. The pictures of ice cream looks great, it made me want the ice cream NOW!! ha ha

Jinstu said...

I love eating green tea ice cream after brunch with my family, and I'm very glad to have found a great recipe so I can make it for them myself.

Taan said...

I finally get to make my green tea ice cream today and now I am waiting for it to chilled in the refrigerator.

So far I didn't mass anything up yet ^-^

can't wait to taste it tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe, i was wondering can you double or even triple the mixture to make more at once?

Janet_Gourmet Traveller88 said...

Great to find your blog, your green tea ice cream looks really great! I made ice cream for the first time yesterday and came our great, now want to try other flavors and green tea is one of them.

Mark said...

Fantastic recipe. Having lived in Japan for 8 years and then moved to Australia, we miss good green tea ice cream. This recipe was both simple to make and nailed the taste superbly. My only suggestion to match more of that "real Japanese" taste would be decrease the sugar slightly and be generous with the matcha.

Scott said...

I made this yesterday, and it's fantastic. Didn't have any issues with ice crystals forming, which made it a lot easier, but I still ended up stirring it while it was freezing.

I used Izu Matcha from Tea Zone's web store, because the local Teavana was out of it. Using 2 tbsp made it a little grainy for my taste, so next time I make it, I will probably cut it back, as well as cutting back on the sugar a bit.

I also might mention to anyone who has never had to make a custard before, when you are heating the ingredients together, waiting for them to thicken, it doesn't even begin to occur until above 190F, hence the concern about not letting the mixture boil. Just have to be patient and keep stirring it.

Thanks for this. I've been looking for a good recipe for green tea ice cream without an ice cream maker. It's not as difficult as it seems at first.

-Scott

~Emz~ said...

I just made this yesterday after reading your recipe! This is the second time I've had a go at making green tea ice cream (the first with a similar but slightly different recipe), but both times I've ended up with really icy green tea - when you bite into it, it's not smooth and fluffy/creamy!!! Very disappointed, and I'm not sure why! Yes, I did keep stirring vigorously every 1/2hr-1hr. How many times do you need to stir it? Until it's literally ice cream? Do you need a lid on your container whilst it is in the freezer waiting to set?

skrockodile (sabra) said...

Hi Emz! Sorry to hear about that - I have never had that problem but if you aren't covering the mixture in the freezer, that could very well be the problem! Also make sure you've cooled it down completely in the refrigerator before transferring it over or you might end up with condensation in the bowl. Use a tight-fitting lid and try to find a container that is not much larger than the mixture itself. Give it ago and see how it works.

Mary said...

Loved this recipe~ Your directions were so clear & it turned out so great! I hope you don't mind if I link it to my blog/post scheduled for tomorrow? It's for an Edible Book Review :-)

the blissful baker said...

green tea ice cream is my favorite! i never knew you could make it without an ice cream maker! i can't wait to try it out this weekend :)

the blissful baker said...

i made this the other day, and it turned out great! i used half the amount of sugar, and used heaping tablespoons of matcha and it was perfect :) i will be making this often from now on!

Sabra said...

I am so happy that so many people have experimented with this recipe! Thank you for all your comments/suggestions/adaptations/wishes - I appreciate them all!

秀芬 said...

Thanks Sabra for sharing this recipe. Green tea ice cream is my favourite!!! so happy to know your recipe no require ice cream maker, I gave it a go yesterday. And I am loving it!! so easy and YUM!

Antra said...

This is such lovely ice-cream! I have never made an ice-cream before I found your recipe, so I gave it a try and it was wonderful!
Now I make it from time to time (sometimes to impress our guests :) ).
My partner is French and he loves cooking, so I feel proud that I can cook something great too!
Thank you!

twinkle said...

hi, can i use whipping cream instead of heavy cream? thanks

Sabra said...

Whipping cream and heavy cream are the same thing

ice cream freezer said...

Gorgeous and pretty photos, I have never tasted this flavor of Ice cream , need to follow your recipe and try it.

Anonymous said...

I've had green tea ice cream several times when I'm abroad and it goes really well with red bean paste. Since there aren't any outlets with Green tea ice cream on their menu where I live, I've been searching high and low for a recipe that doesn't require an ice cream maker since I don't own one. Thanks for sharing this post.

Kate said...

How much does this make?

Anonymous said...

Can I use liquid green tea drops, I couldn't find the powder

Sabra said...

No - you need to use matcha powder which is quite different - you can find it at specialty tea stores, asian food stores, or easily online.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I am so upset, I am dying to try this!!! I went to the natural food store and the man told me it would work. They ran out of the powder (and so now I paid $20 for the liquid) Thanks. I love green tea ice cream.

Sabra said...

Matcha is a powder. Maybe take yours back or poke around for other uses of what you bought?

Saffron said...

Easy to make,Healthy,appealing and colorful.Yum, what a great a combination,and Good to know that ice cream can be made without ice-cream maker. :)

Jen said...

Made it for my new years eve party and it was a hit:) Definitely agree with heaping spoonfuls of the green tea powder and halving the sugar. Turned out just like the icecream you buy at a restaurant for a fraction of the cost! Thanks for the recipe.

Pete Morris said...

What an amazing color!! I've had green tea ice cream before, but it was just an off white color. Definitely going to give this a try, it looks delicious. Where's the best place to get the green tea powder from though, I never seen it before?

Estella said...

Tried out this recipe. Success.

Memorizu said...

Can somebody help to translate into liters or grams? 3/4 cup or 2/3 cup, how many grams that is? This looks interesting and I would like to try this recipe as well :) Thanks

Anonymous said...

I had trouble buying green tea powder, so bought a sachet of Green Tea Icecream Powder Mix (made in Japan). I want to make it nice and creamy - the instructions say to used milk only to mix and I am afraid it won't be very nice. Is it safe to add egg yolks and half cream half milk instead?

Anonymous said...

Went to Ijji today and had this ice cream and want to try and make it today.

Anonymous said...

SO DELICIOUS !!! I added half the sugar listed in this recipe. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT :O) Will use the same recipe for berry-flavored ice-cream (will use my super-reds vitamin powder instead of green tea powder next time). Everyone should try to make ice-cream at home. Just too good to substitute with artificial store-bought poisonous ice-cream.

Siren London said...

Made this ice cream, and amazing!! By the way, I only took out of the fridge twice every hour, and stir, it was truly the best.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to avoid sugar but this looks divine and I must try it. Can I substitute honey for the sugar. I actually make a syrup from honey, lemons, and ginger that I use frequently in my green tea, which is absolutely delish. I would love to try using this instead of the sugar. Do you think it would work?

anna said...

Awesome recipe!! Made double batch with Half sugar and more than double matcha ..... :)

Anonymous said...

Followed this recipe to a T and it was amazing!!! Thank u so much for posting :)

arya said...

Hmm, It looks yummy. I will try to make it on the weekend.

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