A new television show, "Elementary," is due to come out this fall and this recipe, with one foot out of summer and into fall feels appropriate. Maybe this is not the earl grey ice cream that Sherlock Homes and Watson might have had on a Saturday afternoon stroll, but the new series and characters got me excited about modern twists on classics. The flavor of earl grey is at once strong and subtle, but I thought the ice cream needed punch, something to fit the character of the show's new heroes, so I added swirls of blackberry ice cream for zing and visual interest. I modified Jeni Britton's base (less butterfat and less sugar) to let the earl grey flavor stand out. —NakedBeet
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: NakedBeet is a graphic designer, writer, and food blogger in New York.
WHAT: Tea time, in ice cream form.
HOW: Steep, strain, cool, churn, and scoop.
WHY WE LOVE IT: NakedBeet's ice cream is rich and floral -- with the sweet-tang of blackberry jam laced in all the right places. It's just as simple as any other ice cream recipe, yet feels wonderfully elegant -- and, since it uses blackberry jam and not blackberries, it can be eaten year-round. We see this as a dinner party dessert, or piled high onto a cone while the weather's still warm. —The Editors
1 1/2 ounces
fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups
1 1/2 tablespoons
light corn syrup
loose earl grey tea leaves (Rishi or same quality)
Prep three bowls, a small, medium and a large one. Place cream cheese and salt into the medium bowl, mash with a fork, and set aside. In the small bowl, mix the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of the milk. Set this slightly thickened paste aside.
In a large pot, add the rest of the milk and cream with the corn syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. On a simmer, continue stirring for about 4 minutes and no more. Remove the pot from heat, stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring this back to a boil for an additional minute, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly. Add in your loose tea leaves to the hot mixture and let steep for 5 minutes. You might be tempted to place the leaves in a cheesecloth, but placing them in directly will infuse the ice cream really well (you'll be straining this later anyway).
Add a small amount of the boiled milk to the cream cheese, whisking well to incorporate and break up any cream cheese lumps. Once the cream cheese has smoothed out, add the rest of the boiled milk.
Cool the ice cream completely over an ice bath set in the large bowl. Refrigerate the covered cooled mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight. While you might be impatient to just put the ice cream into the machine right away, chilling it completely will keep the ice cream from crystallizing (that weird chalky texture) while it's churning in the machine.
Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the liquid through the strainer, pressing on the tea leaves to get all the ice cream out. Any cream cheese or solids that haven't been blended well will remain out and help make your ice cream smooth and creamy. Stir in the vodka to the liquid ice cream before pouring into your ice cream maker. Follow your ice cream manufacturer's instructions for the length of time, but it usually will take 20-30 minutes for the ice cream to start coming together.
Line a glass container (eg: Pyrex) that comes with its own lid using saran wrap (long enough to cover, too) and place a layer of ice cream, drizzle some of the blackberry jam in thin streaks. Put in more ice cream and continue layering in the blackberry swirls. Cover the ice cream with the hanging saran again before placing the top on. Once you're ready to serve the ice cream, let it soften at room temperature for about 2 minutes. You'll know "it's ready" when you can scoop easily. Scoop the ice cream from the perpendicular direction of your blackberry streaks, to create a swirly effect in your scoop.