Author Notes: My friend at work is a scientist by day and owns a local chai company, Boston Chai Party, by night. While he has the chai tea recipe on lock, we were talking one day about other ways that the chai spice could be used and the first one we thought of was chai ice cream. Naturally, I had to turn it into an ice cream cake. I based the ice cream recipe off David Lebovitz's Cinnamon Ice Cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop, and used Oreo and Amaretti cookies to "dunk" in the chai. I have to say, this might be the most beautiful dish I've ever made, and it wasn't too difficult! —Risa B
Prep time: 2 hrs
Cook time: 24 hrs
Chai Ice Cream
cup whole milk
cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
teaspoons chai masala spice mix (or make your own)
pinch kosher salt
cups heavy cream
large egg yolks
Decorating the cake
cup heavy cream
tablespoons powdered sugar
cup Oreo crumbs, plus more whole for decoration
cup amaretti cookie crumbs, plus more whole for decoration
cup chocolate chips
Chai Ice Cream
- Warm the milk, sugar, chai masala, salt, and 1 cup of cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until heated through and sugar dissolved
- Cover, remove from heat and steep for 1 hour
- Rewarm the milk mixture over low heat
- Put the remaining 1 cup cream in a large metal bowl and place a fine mesh strainer on top
- Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl
- Temper the warm milk into the egg yolks, then return all to the saucepan. (How to temper: start whisking the eggs and stream in ~2 Tbsp of liquid. Once that's combined add another 2 Tbsp liquid. As the eggs get warmer you can add more and more liquid each time. By the time I've added about half the liquid I usually just add the rest of the liquid in one go.)
- Stir the egg mixture over medium heat with a heatproof spatula until it thickens to a custard and coats the spatula
- Strain the egg mixture into the cream in the metal bowl and stir until smooth
- Refrigerate the custard until fully chilled, stirring every so often so that a skin doesn't form
- Churn the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions
- While the ice cream is churning, line a 1 quart dish (I used a Pyrex) with 2 sheets of cling wrap, crossed so that all surfaces are covered
- When the ice cream is finished, scoop into the lined dish, smooth and cover the top with the cling wrap, and freeze overnight until solid
Decorating the cake
- When the ice cream is frozen, prepare the freezer for cake assembly by pre-freezing 1-2 metal cookie sheets
- In a metal bowl, beat cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until whipped cream consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove the ice cream dish from the freezer, and use the cling wrap to pull the ice cream out of the dish. This will be tricky, but have patience
- Turn the ice cream upside down and use dental floss (or a large knife) to square and smooth the top. (This is kind of weird, but I really like using dental floss for clean cuts of foods with a dough-like consistency - cookies, ice cream, butter, etc. I find it a lot easier than using a knife. In the case of this cake, I wrapped the floss around the circumference, making sure that it was in the perfect location on all sides. Then I just crossed the ends of the floss and pulled in opposite directions to close the loop. As I pulled, the loop got smaller and smaller, and the only direction it could travel was through the ice cream.)
- Use dental floss to cut the cylinder into 2 layers and lay the layers on the cookie sheets to re-freeze
- Pulverize the Oreos in a food processor until fine crumbs, then repeat with the amaretti cookies
- Place a layer of amaretti crumbs on the serving dish, then add the bottom layer of ice cream cake, then sprinkle on a dense layer of Oreo crumbs, then top with the second layer of ice cream. Return to the freezer to re-harden.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and use an offset spatula to smooth the sides and top
- Use another spatula to scoop the whipped cream onto the top of the cake and spread down the sides. Try not to get cookie crumbs in the whipped cream! I then used a notched icing comb to make pretty lines around the outside of my cake, but you can leave it more homemade or do another design.
- Pipe rosettes around the top and bottom of the cake, then return to the freezer to harden
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, then pipe a design onto a sheet of wax paper and put in the fridge to solidify. I chose a lily flower.
- Create a design on the top of the cake with the Oreo and amaretti crumbs. I cut a template out of card stock to create the triangle design, but you can do anything you like. I then sprinkled more amaretti cookies down the sides, which look a bit like sand and give it more depth.
- Cut additional cookies into quarters and stick alternating between the rosettes on the top of the cake.
- When the chocolate is hardened, stick the design into the top of the cake.
- Make sure to remove from the freezer a bit before serving so that you can easily cut the cake!