Sunday, March 21, 2010
One of the things I love about photographing ice cream is that in the right light, you can capture every last ripple, every ice crystal, and every fleck of mix-in. Yum. I had decent light - a little too much shadow for my liking, but hey - not everyone can have a studio in their house!
Featured today: Green Tea and Red Bean Ice Cream!
The last time I made green tea ice cream, I bought waaaaaaay too much matcha powder (finely milled tea) and now have a large canister of it in my pantry. I discovered, unfortunately, that the matcha powder is much too strong for my taste. Even half a teaspoon dissipated in almost two cups of water gave me a headache! I like the toasted rice kind of tea anyway :) So now the canister gets taken out...never. But a colleague invited some others from the workplace for hot pot and I thought I would bring some homemade ice cream! I also had some red bean paste leftover from the dim sum experimentation so I decided to whip up some ice cream as well.
I think I've posted a recipe for the base that I use for ice cream. Same thing here - whisk in enough matcha powder to taste! Here's the thing about matcha powder, and green tea in general. It needs a lot of whisking. A LOT. That's why they have those fancy bamboo whisks! I get it now! No matter how hard I tried, there were always flecks of powder floating around. Multiple passes through a sieve didn't do the trick either, but when the ice cream churns the flecks just...fade. It's magical.
The red bean was good - however because there were already beans in the paste (and I added it in before straining the custard base) it was a little on the grainy side. I think next time if I attempt this recipe, I'll probably boil up azuki beans and puree to make a syrup to integrate into the base instead of the paste. I think the paste added too much sugar to the ice cream which contributed to it being not as creamy.
Both went over well with the guests! It was difficult trying to explain to some guests how ice cream is made, while trying to scoop, yet keeping an ear and eye on the Wii Mario Adventureland game happening in the background (I had to forfeit my controller for a round or two - my coins!!). But it's really not that difficult! If you have the opportunity to get an ice cream maker (and if you like ice cream) I would highly encourage you to give the process a try! I have seen old-school hand crank machines at thrift shops for less than $10. Don't be afraid of the hand-crank - it's the same principle as a modern chill 'n churn, except you have to turn the crank for about 20 minutes. Make it a party and split up the work!