Saturday, July 6, 2024

Ice Cream Recipe Review: David Lebovitz's Fresh Mint Ice Cream

"Fresh Mint Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

  • The online recipe can be found here
  • My other ice cream reviews can be found here.


Mint bed in mid-May (top), and early July (bottom).

I started a mint bed in the spring, in order to make one of life's great joy's: fresh mint ice cream. The mint bed was finally established enough for me to feel comfortable harvesting some of it for ice cream.  I had intended to make Jeni's Backyard Mint recipe today (my family's all-time favorite ice creams), but I was out of cream cheese, so trying a new recipe instead. Most mint recipes don't include eggs, but this one does, so I'm curious to see how it turns out - do the yolks overshadow the mint? (no, it was quite tasty).

Note: The online recipe, the ebook recipe and the older edition of the paper book don't match on the mint.

  • Online: 2 cups (80g) packed fresh mint leaves
  • eBook: 2 cups (80g) lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • Paper (older edition): 2 cups (40g) lightly packed fresh mint leaves.
Eighty grams of mint leaves without stems is a LOT.  You certainly can fit that much into two cups, but it's definitely packed, and not lightly packed.  Though it doesn't include eggs, Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe most closely matches David's:
  • Technique - she also steeps the mint for an hour and not, say overnight as Jeni does
  • Amount of mint: Rose also calls for 2 cups lightly packed.  But her "lightly packed" mint weighs only 53 grams.  
Because 53 is way closer to 40 than 80, I used the amount called for in the hard copy of his book (40 grams).

I wrote to David, and he got back to me after I'd made the ice cream - it's supposed to be 80 grams (something he'd corrected for the newer edition), which tells me he intended it to be a more strongly minty ice cream, rather than the more gently minty ice cream that I made (though it's still quite wonderful).  He told me that the difference arose from a conversion error - he's an American living in France, and mostly uses metric units.  I must say that I sympathize.  I've spent the last 10 years making myself use metric as much as possible, and it's just better in every way.  

I think I'd also like to blend some of the mint with the mixture, so that it's a bit more green (and overshadows the yellow from the yolks).

Substitutions and Techniques:

  • Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar (always) as I prefer the flavor. Next time I'll use white sugar. The flavor is fine, but between the green from the mint, the brown from the sugar, and the orange from the yolks, the color was kind of an unattractive pale mustard color.
  • After the steeping, the dairy mixture was only slightly warm, so I just added the yolks, and whisking constantly, raised the temp to about 175F/80C.

Results:

  • Same day: Quite good - silky smooth, but the mint flavor was more gentle and less overly herbaceous than Jeni's recipe, which is both a pro and a con. The adult members of my family love the herbaceousness, but my 7-year-old granddaughter does not.   Because I didn't like the slightly mustardy color of the custard, I churned it on a fast speed to lighten it, and the finished ice cream is much prettier.
  • Next day: silky smooth, a bit harder than I prefer, but overall quite delicious.      

Uses:

  • I added 1/2 cup Oreo chunks and also layered in ribbons of Dorcas's hot fudge which I think gets a little lost. I need to learn how to make a more forward fudge ripple, I think.  
  • I've seen recipes that call for chunks of chocolate ganache, and I suspect that would be wonderful as well.  
  • Girl Scout Thin Mints would also be a great textural element. I'll have to pick up a box the next time they are selling.

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