May 24, 2009
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the time of year for ice cream. Summer leaves long, warm hours after dinner to relax, take walks, and enjoy a bowl of something cold you whipped up yourself. And for me, there always has to be a sweet ending to a meal, even if it's just a bite.
I was intrigued by the idea of green tea ice cream, often served in Japanese restaurants. I've had it before and enjoyed it, and I thought…why not make ice cream with Yerba Mate? Argentina has a strong cultural tradition of drinking Yerba Mate, and a serious penchant for gelato-style ice cream…it's an inevitable cross-breed!
I'm glad to report that the result was splendid–and the perfect way to kick off summer! We were scooping out tastes even as the ice cream maker was whirring away. And when our son, Esteban, who's 2, saw us dipping in, he had to join in–he marched right over to the drawer where the silverware is kept, got out his own 'special' spoon, and waved the spoon at us: "Mas? Mas?" And then; his first taste, a satisfied "Mmmm!!"–could you ask for a better endorsement?
Helado de Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate Ice Cream
To get the hardness of American-style ice cream, freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker after the ice cream is made for an additional couple of hours. Straight from the ice cream maker the consistency is softer, like gelato. If the bowl is kept in the freezer when not in use, clean and empty, it makes making ice cream quick enough to start before dinner and eat for dessert–about 30 minutes!
2 tea infuser spoons of Yerba Mate (or 2 tea bags)
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups cream
Freeze the mixer bowl of the ice cream maker for several hours ahead of time. Brew the yerba mate as strong as possible, using boiling water and the yerba mate. Set aside to cool after brewing, either in the refrigerator or over a bowl of ice (still in its cup, as to not dilute tea).
Beat the eggs and milk together in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon, approximately 10 minutes. (Be sure to use lower heat–if it's too high, the egg will cook.) Let cool completely.
Add the yerba mate and the cream and process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
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