Cooking

I didn’t think it could happen to me (A.K.A. scarfing ice cream in the second trimester)

I laugh at my former first trimester self: the one who ate only slices of green apples and sweet biscuits and lost 20 pounds. I laugh to keep myself from crying. Just kidding. Not really. I was sure that it was only in movies- the sneaking into the kitchen and eating spoonfuls of Ben and Jerry’s throughout the day (and night). Ya well, it’s not. And I have the rotund girth to prove it.

Hilarious Baby. Reaaaal cute.

I am a self-proclaimed obsessive blog reader. I don’t follow many, but those that I do, I check often, and a lot of the food that I make is inspired by one or more of these blogs. In this case it is David Lebovitz and his delicious Mint Chip Ice Cream. For those of you living in the United States or other “civilized” (again, just kidding. Kind of.) countries, will know what this incredible taste sensation is. I have yet to find Mint Chip Ice cream in Israel. Sometimes people will try to pretend that Pistachio ice cream is interchangeable because it is also green, but honestly, is chocolate the same as cinnamon? Or tree bark? Or shoe leather? Let’s be serious. I’m pregnant and I want me some Mint Chip ice cream with rainbow sprinkles in a sugar cone and I want it now.

David Lebovitz is a professional chef, and I am not. He also owns an ice cream machine. I do not. He does suggest a stir-freeze-stir-freeze-technique that I was suspect of. Until I tasted the final product.

Mint Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)

I made this without an ice cream machine, and I want to tell you, it can be done. The mint flavor is a little different from your run of the mill boxed Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream variety. It is fresh, and earthy, but is so good with dark chocolate chips or drizzles.

Ingredients:
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk (David uses whole, but I used 1%. It could have been creamier, so if you are not worried about being health conscious, or in my case too lazy to go back to the grocery store, spring for whole milk).
½ cup sugar (This will be very sweet)
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
A pinch of salt
2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves, washed and stemmed
5 egg yolks

For the chocolate chips:
5 ounces (140 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. On the stove, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, salt, and mint leaves.

2. Once the mixture is very warm but not yet bubbling around the edges, remove from heat, cover, and let it sit for at least an hour to give the mint time to really release it’s flavor into the mixture. Don’t rush this part. It makes a difference.

3. Remove the mint with you hands, or a strainer. Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint. I did this with my hands, and found it worked wonderfully. I don’t have a strainer specifically designated for dairy, so this was my only option. There were a few tiny specks of mint leftover in the mixture, but I feel this gives it a “rustic” feel.

4. Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large, heavy-duty bowl.

5. Rewarm the mint-milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Your goal here is to incorporate some of the hot milk into the eggs, so that when you add them to the saucepan they won’t seize up and cook. This is gross if it happens, and you will know it immediately if you have done it wrong. The key is to slowly add the mixture, and keep on whisking!

6. Cook the custard with a heatproof spoon or spatula, whisking all the time, until the mixture is thick and delicious looking. You must constantly stir or else unsightly clumps will form near the bottom and it won’t be smooth custard. I know this process may seem to take a long time, at least 10 or 15 minutes, but you must LOVE the custard. Lovingly stir and whisk, relax, and don’t step away to attend to other things. Custard is like an attention-starved child. With enough love, you will turn out with a wonderful product. Ignore it enough, and you’ve got some clumps to deal with.

7. Immediately pour the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool. You can either refrigerate the mixture for several hours and then freeze it in an ice cream machine, or if you are like me and don’t have any room in your tiny apartment for an ice cream maker, see instructions for making ice cream without a machine.

Making Ice Cream Without A Machine

1. Prepare your ice cream mixture, then chill it over an ice bath. Once cool, set your durable bowl or open container with your ice cream mixture in the freezer. Wait 45 minutes or an hour.

2. As it starts to freeze around the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it all back together with a heavy spoon or whisk. You want to break up the ice crystals as they form. This is how you will get a creamy ice treat instead of an icy one.

3. Check your mixture every 30-45 minutes and continue to stir it well as it freezes. This will take several hours, depending on the temperature of your freezer and how often you remember to check it!

4. Melt the chocolate pieces in the microwave (intervals of 20 seconds), or in a bowl over boiling water on the stove. Don’t let the bowl touch the water, and stir the chocolate until fully melted. Drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the top of the almost frozen ice cream, then stir together to create faux chocolate chips. I had never attempted this technique until I read David’s recipe, and it works perfectly. Thanks, David!

5. Spoon your mixture into an airtight container, freeze, and indulge whenever you need a sweet and refreshing treat! If your ice cream is slightly icy due to the freezing process, letting it warm up slightly so it is a bit melted will bring back a significant amount of creaminess.

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