Sunday, July 10, 2011

Backyard Mint Ice Cream (from Jeni's Cookbook)

Last weekend I had some leftover fresh mint and basil, and they smelled so good I didn't want to let them go to waste, so I thought, what better idea than to turn them into ice cream?  Jeni's Backyard Mint Ice Cream has been one of my favorites since it was introduced and puts all other mint ice creams to shame.  In her extensive cookbook (which by the way, has made it on the New York Times' Best Sellers' list), Jeni provides the full recipe on Page 72 (also posted here), so I decided that that's how I would use my leftover mint.

The overall process took longer than the Gucci Muu Muu ice cream, which was the first Jeni's recipe I tried, as the torn mint leaves need to be steeped into the ice cream based for 4-12 hours to let the scent permeate the ice cream.  The only concern I had was that the recipe called for "a large handful of fresh mint" and I wasn't really sure that the leftover mint I had was enough, and I knew there wouldn't be any way to supplement it because the previous day I had to go to FIVE stores to find the very last little bunch of mint, some of which I had already used in another recipe. (So "Giant Eagle Mint Ice Cream" would be a more honest name in this case, but the experience did make me seriously consider planting my own mint.).  In any case, to ensure maximum flavor from my minimal mint, I steeped it for the full 12 hours before straining it out.

But when I tasted the ice cream base afterwards, it tasted like...sweet cream.  Good sweet cream, mind you, but no hint of mint.  Yikes!  Should I make it as is anyway or try to make it mintier somehow?  I decided to see if i could salvage the batch by chopping up some of the mint in my food processor and mixing the finely chopped mint into the base.

It worked!

Backyard Mint Ice Cream (Jeni's Style)
Backyard Mint Ice Cream

I would have preferred to have had it turn out without adding the chopped mint, but at least this turned out great anyway.  So great I finished the entire batch - which was about 2.5 cups - in three days' time, all while I was also enjoying the batch Basil Ice Cream I had made at the same time.  The most amazing part was the texture, both in terms of how easy it was to scoop (unlike ice cream I had made before) and in terms of mouthfeel.

So, I call this one a success. :)

Thanks to my Basil Ice Cream, which I made at the same time and came out pretty much perfect (not to brag or anything!), I now know for future reference that about 2 cups of fresh mint would probably be a good amount to use for this recipe.

This is part of a series of posts on recipes from or inspired by Jeni's Spendid Ice Creams at HomeThe rest of the series may be found here.