Probably one of the most common teas that restaurants and dairies try to turn into ice cream is the classic Earl Grey. Having tried quite a few myself, I have been fairly disappointed with most of them.
They usually either come out too perfume-y (probably due to the fact that they use an Earl Grey which uses artificial flavors) or the combination of cream, sugar and tea creates an odd aftertaste.
This problem is undoubtedly due to the fact that they are trying to replicate a cup of Earl Grey in ice cream form, rather than use Earl Grey as an ingredient to create a new flavor.
Using that idea as my inspiration, I set out to create a new ice cream flavor which used Earl Grey as a dimension of flavor, which is balanced and complemented by other flavors.
The result was clear by the amount of time the quart and a half of ice cream lasted in the Tavalon office (about 5 minutes): it was delicious and tasted completely different than any others out there.
Earl Grey Creamsicle Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk (separated into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons Earl Grey Reserve
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (can be found at any Middle Eastern Market, or make your own)
In a medium bowl, beat together the yolks and half of the sugar. You can beat by hand using a whisk or using a hand mixer or egg beater. Beat until thoroughly smooth and creamy. (A couple of minutes by hand.)
Put cream, 1 cup of the milk, the remaining half of the sugar, and the salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until just before it starts to simmer (do not let simmer), add tea leaves. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
While the mixture is standing, prepare an ice water bath in a bowl large enough to set another bowl easily inside of it. Set aside.
Whisk in 1 cup of the cream mixture in a slow stream into the yolk mixture to temper it. Add another cup of the cream mixture; continue to whisk. Transfer the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream, milk and tea leaves. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and an instant-read thermometer registers 180°, 5 to 7 minutes. (You can run your finger in a line over the back of the coated spoon. If the mixture doesn’t run, but stays in place on the spoon, it should be thick enough.) Remove from heat and mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and orange blossom water to stop the mixture from overcooking.
Pour custard through a medium-mesh sieve into a stainless steel bowl set in the ice-water bath. Let cool completely, stirring until completely chilled.
Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.