Maitre D: And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint.
Mr Creosote: No.
Maitre D: Oh sir! It's only a tiny little thin one.
Mr Creosote: No. F*** off - I'm full... [Belches]
Maitre D: Oh sir... it's only wafer thin.
Mr Creosote: Look - I couldn't eat another thing. I'm absolutely stuffed. Bugger off.
Maitre D: Oh sir, just... just one...
Mr Creosote: Oh all right. Just one.
Maitre D: Just the one, sir... voila... bon appetit...
[Mr Creosote eats the wafer-thin mint. The Maitre D takes a flying leap behind some potted plants. There is an ominous splitting sound. Mr Creosote explodes.]
Maitre D: [returns to Mr Creosote's table] Thank you, sir, and now the cheque.
~ Monty Python, The Meaning of Life
First: A lesson in Kiwi slang.
1. A flavour based on the mint herb.
2. A hard candy of mint flavor.
3. A place where coins are made.
4. What collectors call something in perfect condition.
5. Something is cool, great, sweet, excellent, good: e.g. "I had a mint weekend."
I really did have a mint weekend. Literally and figuratively.
Saturday: Went to good mate of mine's wedding at the beautiful botanical gardens. Stunning setting, absolutely stunning couple. Got to catch up with some of my fav people in the whole world, spend the day in the sunshine, and then stuff our faces at the Chinese banquet. And I got to exercise my democratic rights, flex my civic duty muscles so to say. A pretty mint day really.
Sunday: Made Mint and Dark Chocolate Ice cream. You could say I had an ice cream Sunday. A mint Ice cream Sunday.
Oh dear, I'll stop that now.
I wanted to use real mint leaves to make this mint ice cream but last time I flew home I discovered that mum and C had let my beloved herb garden die out and get overgrown by weeds. Herb murderers.
I managed to coax the mint from the brink of entering herb heaven but it's still not in any shape to be plundered for ice cream making purposes. So mint extract it was, and it was still delicious. If you haven't had mint ice cream before, it's seriously good. In a word it's refreshing. Cooling as well as cold it's just what you feel on a baking hot summer's day.
I had planned to make a classic mint chocolate chip ice cream but found that we were all out of choc chips - doh! So I went the stracciatella way...you know, that italian gelato style that has these tiny flakes of chocolate all the way through it. David Lebovitz in my new go to ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, makes it sound super easy: just pour a thin stream of melted chocolate on the still churning ice cream and watch it all get broken up throughout the ice creaminess.
In reality it was way harder. For the life of me I couldn't get the stream to be thin enough and my ice cream maker churns at a nana pace (bless its little cotton socks) so I was getting big clumps of chocolate clogging up the blades. Less than ideal.
Despite the hiccups though, it turned out amazingly. The mint and dark chocolate is really a match made in heaven. Think of this as a pimped out, suped up wafer thin after dinner mint. Mr Creosote would've definitely been able to keep this ice cream down.
And another note, this ice cream is a custard-based ice cream rather than a cream only style recipe. Custard based ice creams just hands down make a creamier richer yummier ice cream. It is definitely harder to make, the custard making part is tricky (mine curdled ever so slightly but it was still good), but it is soooo worth it.
Mint & Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
adapted from a recipe in The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
makes 1 litre of ice cream
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
2 cups (500ml) cream
5 egg yolks
3 tsp mint extract
optional: green food coloring (I mixed some blue and yellow to get green...you need a splash more blue than yellow on account of the yolks making the custard yellowy)
120g dark chocolate (I used Whittakers 62% Dark Chocolate which is deliciously bittersweet)
1. First a bit of prep: in a bowl, whisk the yolks till fluffy. In a separate large bowl (stainless steel or pyrex) pour 1 cup of cream and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, sugar, 1 cup cream over low-medium heat till warm like a nice warm bath, stirring. Pour into the egg yolks a ladleful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon.
3. Rinse out the saucepan and boil a jug of water. Fill the saucepan with hot water and put back on the stove over a low-medium heat. Place the bowl of eggy creamy custard over the saucepan (making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water) and heat gently over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly (make sure you scrap the bottom!) until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spatula. You can test if it's done by running your finger across the back of the spatula and it leaves a clear line. Pour the custard into the bowl of cream you set aside earlier and stir over a basin of ice cold water until cool. Add the mint extract and food coloring and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and follow it's manufacturer's instructions. (** If you don't have an ice cream maker, David Lebovitz has a great article about how to make ice cream without an ice cream machine which involves just good old fashion stirring every 30 minutes.). When the ice cream is just about ready, melt the dark chocolate in a pyrex measuring jug in the microwave in 30 second bursts. A the very last minute, pour the melted chocolate in a wafer thin stream into the still churning almost solid ice cream being careful to miss the blades and pour right on the ice cream. Like I mentioned earlier I found it was actually much harder to pour in a thin stream than I thought, I had to break up big bits of ice cream with a spoon. Ice cream should be ready to eat right away (it's the texture of soft serve) but if you want it firmer, transfer into a container and freeze for 3-4 hours.