Friday, July 22, 2011

mint ice cream

There is a point in the summer where the brain stops being efficient. It happens all in one day, and it's the same day that wearing a bra is no longer an option given the discomfort it produces. It is the kind of day where one must either be near a body of water or in love or both--otherwise life is unbearable.  When the heat wave hits, there is not much to be done.

And when I say not much, I mean, really, that there's only one thing to do.

Today is the day to make ice cream.
I know you don't want to cook. I don't want to cook either. But mint is almost a green vegetable, and milk has lots of protein, and there you have it. Fresh mint ice cream could easily pass for dinner.  I'm guessing you won't get any argument from those around the table.

That is, if you're sitting at a table. We are just scattered about, looking for colder pockets of air.

When I set out to make fresh mint ice cream yesterday (because it was absolutely the only thing I wanted to eat), I had every intention of making an egg custard base and of whisking and thickening and all that. But then I got into it, and I came to the part where I would start breaking eggs. I wiped the sweat out of my eyes, and I gave up even on this, and I just went ahead and made ice cream with the simple base that I had, just the milk, cream, mint, and a little sugar. A Philadelphia style mint ice cream, if you will. 

And I have to tell you, that on a day like today (or yesterday), I just might prefer an eggless ice cream. It is lighter, and fluffier, and it just makes more sense. Best of all, it is outstanding easy to make--even today, you can handle it.

Some people don't grow mint because it takes over. This is exactly why I grow it, and I spend all summer shoving it into water and tea and jello and cocktails and anything else. This recipe requires a good heap of leaves, so if you don't have a rampant patch for your very own, find a friend who does.

Mint Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups loosely packed mint leaves

Combine one cup of the heavy cream, the milk, the sugar and the salt in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the mint leaves to the mixture, cover, and let steep for 30-45 minutes. 

Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Add the last cup of cream, and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Pour into your ice cream maker (I love the Cuisinart), and churn.


  1. When you add the mint leaves and let it steep, do you turn off the stove or leave it on?

  2. remove from heat! Sorry for the confusion- I'll clear it up in the recipe.

  3. That looks perfect for our big patch of mint. I'm making it first thing tomorrow after I pick up some cream!

  4. That's what I thought you meant, but thanks for the clarification!

  5. Oh love that last photo! Mint ice cream is a favorite, but I've yet to make it at home.