One of the things that stuck to me the most during my last visit to Tokyo DisneySea was the shell-shaped Sea Salt Ice Cream. I don’t know if you saw it on the Tokyo DisneySea video I made, but my brother bought one to try and we both agreed it reminded us a lot of the Kingdom Hearts videogame. It’s a game that Disney and Square Enix collaborated on, which brings me to ask: Why haven’t they opened a Kingdom Hearts theme park? That would be THE coolest! (Giving you a glimpse of my videogame nerd side right there!)
Anyway, thanks to the Sea Salt Ice Cream, I decided to write about this Earl Grey Ice Cream recipe I made based off one of my favourite ice cream books in the universe. It’s appropriate for the sweltering weather, and it’s got some elements that kind of remind me of Japan I guess– namely the tea component. Admittedly not matcha, but there’s time enough for me to share the ton of matcha recipes I’ve got waiting at the wings. 😉
Ironically, the Earl Grey leaves I used for this infusion is a French blend, from the iced tea collection of TWG. I got this when I attended the launch a while back and I thought it would be perfect for this recipe.
For those of you who don’t know what TWG is, it’s a high-end tea brand from Singapore that specialises in tea blends and tea-infused sweets, specifically macarons and ice cream. It’s got really posh tea saloons scattered all over the metro as well. Not really my scene since it’s a bit expensive, but I do enjoy their macarons quite a bit. (This isn’t a plug, fyi!)
For the hefty price tag, you can expect nothing less but TWG to pull through with their promise of quality. For this blend, you can clearly see the French blue cornflowers in the mixture. Apparently the black tea leaves are infused with citrus fruits as well, contributing to create the most wonderful scent. It’s a little bit floral and fruity compared to your normal Earl Grey.
Of course you don’t have to use this brand specifically to make this ice cream, but I do have to stress that good Earl Grey will make a huge difference for this ice cream. It’s literally the only flavour you’ll be tasting, unless you drizzle it with chocolate syrup I suppose.
The process for making this is just like for any other ice cream with an egg yolk custard base, and if you’ve made ice cream as much as I have it’s just totally easy. I already figured out my favourite procedure so that’s what I’ve written below.
The steps for an egg yolk-based ice cream is the fairly similar across the board no matter who writes the book. The part you have to be most cautious about would be the tempering of the eggs. As long as you keep the yolks moving via constant stirring as you pour hot cream into it, there shouldn’t be a problem. I messed up this part a little bit on my first try, getting some bits of cooked egg in the process, but that’s what straining at the end is for.
Homemade ice cream is definitely worth investing in an ice cream maker for, methinks.
The ice cream this recipe produces is probably one of the thickest ice creams I’ve ever made. Every scoop fills your senses with Earl Grey goodness, and in this case, a light floral and fruity hit as well. I really grabbed the opportunity to create some good ice cream with that TWG tea didn’t I? This recipe from Bi-Rite Creamery’s book provided the perfect canvass! If you enjoy Earl Grey as much as I do (it’s my favourite tea to order in milk tea form!) then you will loooove this.
Earl Grey Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided use
- 3 Tablespoons high-quality Earl Grey tea leaves*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- Remember to prepare your ice cream maker ahead of time according to manufacturer's instructions before making this recipe!
- 1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, stir together cream, milk, 1/4 cup sugar, tea leaves, and salt. Once the mixture just starts to bubble around the edges of the pan, remove from the heat. Cover the pan and let steep for at least 10 minutes, stirring and tasting occasionally, until the cream has absorbed the scent and flavour of the Earl Grey.
- 2. In another medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks until they've broken up. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until well-blended.
- 3. Uncover the Earl Grey-infused cream mixture and return over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Take the pan off the heat, and whisking your egg yolks constantly, slowly drizzle in about half a cup worth of the warm mixture to temper the eggs. Keep mixing the egg yolks throughout this process so you don't end up cooking them! Continue drizzling in the rest of the warm mixture slowly, whisking all the while, until well-combined. Return the mixture back to the pan.
- 4. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture becomes thickened and coats the back of the spoon. You can check if the mixture is thick enough by running your finger on the back of the spoon; it should be able to hold a clear path.
- 5. Place a bowl or heatproof container over an ice bath and place a fine-mesh strainer on top. Pour the mixture through the strainer to discard any bits of cooked egg, as well as the tea leaves. Let the mixture cool in the ice bath before transferring to the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- 6. Once ready, give the mixture one last stir before churning in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Ice cream will be the consistency of soft serve after churning so you can enjoy it immediately, but it's best to freeze it for a further 4 hours at least for a firmer consistency.
There was this one time during a trip to another country when I was underdressed for a zero-degree day and I was freezing in a way that felt like it was down to my soul, but for whatever reason I felt compelled to eat some ice cream to counteract that coldness, if that makes sense. Guess that just goes to show that no matter what, ice cream is simply one of the best inventions of life.