The kids are in an ice cream rut. Mostly, they like vanilla and chocolate, and little M&Ms on top. With visions of breakfast ice cream, fruit sorbet and herb confections, I bought (ahem, invested in) an ice cream maker. As it chilled for the requisite 16 hours yesterday, I enjoyed a delightful day brainstorming our maiden voyage into ice cream making. As the boys cut Play-Doh, I asked, “What kind of ice cream should we make?” Mingus exclaimed, “Chocolate-chocolate!” As Mingus made a Magna-tile train station (and Beluga played Godzilla), I asked, “If you could make any flavor ice cream, what would it be? Their happy reply: “Chocolate!” I love chocolate, but we’ve had it covered late spring through summer at Haagen Dazs, Cold Stone, Pinkberry and our local TLC.
Searching for inspiration, I recalled my boys surreptitiously gulping my iced tea and lemonade, and thought, “Let’s make Arnold Palmer!” And not just any Arnold Palmer – creamy, icy, crunchy, cold Arnold Palmer Ice Cream.
I don’t have a recipe. But, how could it really go wrong? // Note: looking back, this first version was good, but my second version was great. So, if you’re actually going to make this ice cream, look to the end for the recipe to follow. Don’t get distracted by the freeze twice theory that has since been debunked.
I know I am going to need some strong bitter tea, so that’s where I begin. Pouring boiling hot water over two bags of Darjeeling, I add a good dose of sugar. The tea needs to steep, the sugar needs to melt. After ten minutes on the counter, I place the cup in the freezer. It also needs to cool.
I set up the mixer and, consulting Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts, I adapt Ice Cream Base 1: eggs, sugar, heavy cream, milk.
This is where Ben & Jerry’s advice ends. An act of faith: lemon zest goes into the cream base and the lemon juice goes into the tea chilling in the freezer.
Swapping out the mixer bowl, I set in place the ice cream attachment on the stand, then pour in the cream base and start the paddle on a low spin.
I pace the kitchen, eager to witness every step towards frozen glory.
A tupperware dish receives the cream base and travels directly to the freezer.
To preserve as much cold as possible, I opt not to wash out the ice cream maker. Instead, the lemon sweet tea goes into the dirty bowl and picks up a little leftover cream. It’s a race against the rising temperature of the freezer bowl to get Round 2 done. After ten minutes, I can tell the tea slush is not freezing any more.
A quick taste tells me I want to boost the bitterness of the slush, so I shake in a bag of crushed tea leaves before scraping all of it out of the bowl.
The ice cream and tea slush come together. Gently folded into one another, one bite is more lemonade, another is more tea. It’s delicious and I’m eager to share the concoction with the boys.
Mingus wakes from his nap, saunters into the kitchen, sits down at his desk and starts grating a lemon I’ve left out for him. He knows what to do. Once a bowl of Arnold Palmer Ice Cream is in front of him, he adeptly garnishes it.
A tea bag, however, has him perplexed. I suggest he open it, and sprinkle some dry leaves on top of his ice cream, explaining, “They’re tea crunchies!”
His response is calm. He enjoys each bite, licks the bowl, then says: “Mommy I want to make ice cream. I want to make chocolate ice cream.” I understand. I tell him, “Let’s do it tomorrow.” In the meantime, Bob and I will be eating the delicious results of today:)
Arnold Palmer Ice Cream:
5 Black Tea Bags
1/3 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
The key to making ice cream is temperature – everything must start cold, be cold and say cold. So, in advance of making your ice cream, put all your ingredients nearest the cold source in your refrigerator. Also make the tea for this recipe at least a couple hours in advance. Pour boiling water into a cup with three bags of black tea, brew for ten minutes. Add 1/2 cup milk to the tea, do not remove the bags, and set aside in the refrigerator, nearest the cold source. A couple hours later, it’s time to make ice cream! Get started on the cream base: Crack two eggs into a large bowl and beat them by hand or mixer until they are fluffy. Add 1 cup sugar and continue mixing until it is incorporated. Then add 2 cups of heavy cream and your milk/tea mixture (squeeze out the teas bags to get all their flavor), and beat again. Add the juice and zest of one lemon, as well as one bag of dried tea leaves, and give the whole thing a last whirl. Freeze the cream base according to how your ice cream maker works best. When the lemon ice cream is stiff, scoop it into a tupperware dish and set it aside in your freezer. Serve up and garnish with lemon zest and “tea crunchies”, ie those good quality crushed tea leaves. I like Darjeeling best, because it’s beautiful and has a complex bitter and floral flavor combo.