Mint is a fragrant addition to any backyard garden. That being said, it is also one of the most invasive
weeds herbs you’ll ever plant. Eleven years ago I made the mistake of planting two tiny mint transplants in one bed in this garden. By the following season, it was the only thing still living and it had invaded the roses across the path and the second garden bed. The roots were deep, going all the way to the bottom of the beds and coming up on the opposite side with new plants everywhere. Eradication was not possible. I have not planted mint since then. Until now.
I don’t even like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but I had to try it. Michael likes mint chocolate chip after all, and it would be a fitting way to see the little mint plant go out. A celebration of life, of sorts. A mint funeral.
But it didn’t happen that way. The ice cream was delicious. We enjoyed it two nights in a row and yearn for more. The little mint plant is here to stay. I even the pulled weeds around it today, lest it be choked out. If it wants to spread out and invade squash and tomatoes’ space so be it. I’ll even put a little cold frame over it this winter to prevent it dying from frost. I will enjoy fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream in january.
The recipe is all David’s. I veered off not at all. Here’s how it’s done. Pick some fresh mint, two cups packed to be exact. You could certainly get by with less. This is very assertively mint flavored.
Lift the mint out with a strainer and press to extract all the juice. Add the mint juice back into the hot liquid and discard the leaves. Pour the reserved cream into a bowl and place a strainer over the top. Lightly beat the egg yolks with a fork. Re warm the liquid and temper the yolks with spoons-full of the hot liquid. Add the tempered eggs back into the pot and heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour through strainer into the reserved cream. Stir over an ice bath until cool.
Pour the custard base into your ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions to freeze. Place a storage bowl in the freezer to chill. While freezing, melt chocolate according to recipe instructions, being careful not to get even one drop of water in it. Here is mine when done. My Cuisanart machine makes a definite sound when freezing is complete. If you ignore that sound it will become frozen butter. Just saying.
Add a layer of ice cream and drizzle more chocolate on top. It should immediately harden. Mix gently with a spoon to crack the chocolate into little shards. Continue layering until the chocolate is gone.
For the mint ice cream:
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
- 3/4 cup (150 gr) sugar
- 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves
- 5 large egg yolks
For the chocolate chips:
5 ounces (140 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, salt, and mint.
2. Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.
3. Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. (You can also use well-washed hands to do it as well, making sure the mixture isn’t too hot to safely handle.) Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.
4. Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.
5. Rewarm the infused 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.
6. Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170ºF (77ºC).
7. Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.
8. Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth. Place a storage container in the freezer.
9. When the ice cream in the machine is ready, scribble some of the chocolate into the container, then add a layer of the just-churned ice cream to the container. Scribble melted chocolate over the top of the ice cream, then quickly stir it in, breaking up the chocolate into irregular pieces. Continue layering the ice cream, scribbling more chocolate and stirring as you go.
When finished, cover and freeze until firm.