There is no better way to celebrate summer than to combine two of my favorite things, tea and ice cream. This would seem easy; there is green tea ice cream already. So why aren’t there black tea ice cream recipes all over the place?
The short answer is that green tea ice cream is made with matcha powder, so the tea is blended in with the cream allowing for a nice flavor, texture, and neon green color. When you are eating green tea ice cream, you are literally eating the tea. Black tea is not made into a powder like matcha, so to make black tea ice cream we have to borrow from the coffee ice cream recipes.
The trick behind good ice cream, thank you Alton Brown for this bit of information, is to find a nice balance of fat and sugar. If you want less fat, you need more sugar to help keep a smooth texture on the ice cream. It is also handy to note that the human tongue is not very good at picking up flavors in frozen items, so concentration of flavor is key. Keeping that in mind, I set out to find a simple ice cream base that could hold a strong cup of tea. Below is the recipe I came up with for Nilgiri Tea Ice Cream.
Why Nilgiri? It is the usual base to most iced teas in the USA. Its flavor holds up to ice, so it seemed like the easiest place to start.
1 quart Nilgiri Tea Ice Cream Recipe:
6 grams Nilgiri tea
8 oz of water
1 15oz. can of coconut milk (low fat coconut milk is fine, but double the arrowroot)
12 oz. of SILKEN tofu
¾ cup Brown Rice Syrup*
2 Tbsp of Vanilla Extract
½ Tbsp of Arrowroot powder (can use corn or potato starch here)
*Since I am not heating this mixture, it is safer to use a syrup than granulated sugar in this recipe. I am not a fan of high fructose corn syrup, which is why the brown rice syrup is here. Feel free to substitute the corn syrup, but the brown rice syrup adds a slight nutty flavor that compliments the tea in this recipe.
Brew 6 grams of Nilgiri tea in the 8 oz of water for the typical 5 minute steeping time and set aside to cool slightly. Combine the rest of the ingredients and the tea in a blender and run the blender until the ingredients are combined and smooth. If you are like me and not very patient, the tea will have raised the temperature of the rest of the ingredients too high to immediately pour this into your ice cream machine. So put the contents of the blender in the refrigerator. It will probably need to sit there between 4-6 hours to drop it down to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Then follow your manufacturer’s instructions for pouring the mixture into your ice cream machine and churning it. It will come out a soft-serve consistency but will harden into more solid ice cream after about 4 hours in the freezer.
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did. Have you tried using tea to flavor your homemade ice cream?