Masala Chai Gelato
Jim loves ice cream. Dessert is not complete if it doesn’t include ice cream. He’ll want ice cream on the side of every slice of pie, cake, crepe, pudding, crisp… He’ll take ice cream on the side of a bowl of ice cream. Even for desserts that are perfect on their own, and don’t really suit ice cream, he’ll insist they would be better with ice cream.
So, I make ice cream. And we buy ice cream. And go out for ice cream. He’s so predictable!!
This recipe is purely an idea that worked out! Last month for the CookBook Club, I made the Ginger Gelato from the Gjelina cookbook. I was enthralled with it. Funny, Jim wasn’t. The ginger flavour was too distinct for him. Fine, more for me! But I found the recipe such a lovely one to follow, that the wheels in my little brain started turning.
Ginger: a spice that I often associate with Asian and Indian cuisine. Hmmm, Indian….ginger, cardamom, cinnamon…Chai!! So I thought, why not make a gelato that tastes like a Masala Chai Tea?? I’m brilliant! No, I’m not. Total fluke!
So I took loose leaf darjeeling tea: love the Kusmi Tea collection, don’t you??! And I gathered together cardamom pods, fresh ginger, some cinnamon sticks, and black peppercorns, and added them to my steeping liquid. And while I was preparing the milk, I thought, I had to make myself a tea to confirm that I was going to love the finished gelato. The chai latte hit the spot, so hopefully the gelato would have the same effect.
After letting it all steep for a few hours, I strained it and followed the directions that the Gjelina cookbook outlines. It smelled amazing, but it wasn’t frozen yet.
The next day, after the ice cream maker had done its job, it was ready for testing. I scooped out a spoonful. Oh yes, sublime! I would serve it with my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I did, and it was a hit with all of my guinea pigs, I mean, guests!
Yesterday Jim helped himself to more gelato, and said, “You outdid yourself with this one. It’s a keeper.” I was sooo happy!! When Jim says something is a keeper, he really means it. He’s not one to dole out false compliments just to placate me.
But when I went to get some gelato for myself I was dismayed to find so little remaining! He had really helped himself to a big helping. So my only photo of the gelato itself makes it look rather meager! But I guess this in itself is a testament to how good it is. I sprinkled cocoa nibs, cinnamon and my buckwheat granola on it for crunch. It was very yummy!
Another favourite way to enjoy ice cream in this house, is in our coffee. I’ve been doing affogato way before I knew it was a thing! I remember the first time I tried it. It was probably around 1989. I was visiting with an Italian girlfriend, we were having coffee at her place. She apologized that she had run out of milk or cream. I thought about it and then said, “Well, ice cream is cream that’s cold, right? And it already has sugar in it, so we won’t need the sugar bowl. Do you have ice cream in the freezer?” She looked at me and laughed- she would never have thought of that as an option. Thus my ice cream in coffee habit was born! And now, it’s everywhere!! Jim loves it- I showed him the idea one day about 15 years back. He now thinks that this is how coffee should always be served when company is over.
I hope you like this gelato recipe. I’d love to hear from you and what you think of it. I have to make more. Real soon.
- 8 cardamom pods, opened, the seeds removed and lightly crushed
- 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
- 1 3 inch stick of cinnamon, cracked into small pieces
- 10 peppercorns, crushed
- 2 tbsp spoons of darljeeling tea leaves
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup Buttermilk Crème Fraîche
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Add the tea, crushed spices and ginger, milk, cream, and salt into a medium sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat until steaming and bubbles begin to form around the edges. Turn off the heat and let steep at least 2 hours.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and falls in smooth ribbons when lifted with a spoon.
- Pour the warm milk-tea-spice mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup. Gradually pour the strained milk-tea-spice mixture into the egg base, whisking constantly. Whisk in the crème fraîche and honey.
- Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Churn according to your ice-cream maker’s directions until frozen.
- Makes about 1 pint.