Leaf & Flower Custard Ice Master Recipe
The custard recipe here features in-season mint, but feel free to substitute other foraged florals or herbs.
Makes one quart
By infusing aromatic leaves and flowers into the custard base you can create unusual flavors, producing perfumed and subtle-scented ice creams such as rose or more robust flavors, like peppermint. The more plant material used, the stronger the flavor. The recipe below calls for mint, since that is in season now, but you can use any sweet, floral, or fruity-smelling plants for making ice cream, as well as pungent or spicy ones, such as ginger or sage, to create surprising taste variations. If possible, seek out grass-fed and organic dairy products and pasture-raised eggs from a local farm.
u 2 cups heavy cream
u 1 cup milk
u ½ cup maple syrup or Sucanat
u 2 tightly packed cups mint leaves (spearmint, peppermint, or apple-mint are all good wild mints) or fresh aromatic herbs of your choice, finely chopped
u 6 egg yolks
u Pinch sea salt
u 1 tsp vanilla extract, rum, cognac, or other liquor (optional)
Combine cream, milk, sweetener, and mint or herb of choice in a non-reactive pot and cover. Over low heat, bring mixture to a gentle simmer, stir well, cover, and turn off heat.
Let mixture steep, tightly covered, for 1 hour. If the mixture has cooled while steeping, reheat it gently and very briefly before proceeding to the next step.
In a 3-quart thick-bottomed pot, gently beat egg yolks with pinch of salt, then, whisk two tablespoons of the mixture into egg yolks. Whisk in another two tablespoons of mixture. Whisk the remaining mixture into the egg yolks.
Place pot over very low heat and stir the custard constantly until it begins to thicken, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve, squeezing out any remaining liquid from the plant material. Stir in optional ingredient.
Chill the custard in a covered container to 40ºF. (At this point, the custard ice-cream base can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.)
Process custard in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Serve immediately or store in the freezer.