July 11, 2012

Backyard Mint Ice Cream

This favorite summer ice cream is the result of two gifts: one is an abundant mint patch that we inherited when we bought our house over a decade ago, and the other a book of ice cream recipes from our friends Amanda and Jeff. I am thankful for both!

The recipe says you can use any fresh herb you like; I have made this recipe with lavender from our garden. It made for something special and a little different (especially when used as one layer in a three-layer terrine made in a loaf pan, sandwiched between such flavors as raspberry and chocolate). I'd be excited to try this with Earl Grey tea bags or fresh basil in place of the mint as well... I think the key is that the fresh herb steeps in the fridge overnight in the warm ice cream base which makes for deep flavor. 

This recipe has more ingredients that I am used to in homemade ice cream, but the texture makes it worth it; it's perfectly soft and scoopable. Not as soft as gelato, but much less hard than homemade ice cream that doesn't call for touches of cornstarch and cream cheese as this one does.

My son loves it and always requests it for his birthday dessert. 

Mint leaves, steeped overnight in the fridge

Straining out the mint before spinning the ice cream

Start this recipe the day before and plan to spin the ice cream the next morning after it has steeped in the mint overnight. 

Backyard Mint Ice Cream 
from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer

2 C whole milk
1 T + 1 t cornstarch
1.5 oz. (3 T) cream cheese, softened
1/8 t sea salt
1 1/4 C heavy cream
2/3 C sugar
2 T light corn syrup
large handful fresh mint, leaves roughly torn into small pieces

Mix 2 T milk with cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry.

Whisk cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth (in large Pyrex measuring cup).

Combine remaining milk (1 3/4 C + 2 T), cream, sugar, and corn syrup in 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for four minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the mint. Refrigerate to steep for 4 - 12 hours.

Strain out mint (pour through fine sieve). Spin in ice cream maker.

The mint ice cream pairs especially well with a scoop of homemade chocolate ice cream


  1. Huh. I just sent your blog to my town geologist because I learned it was something he might be into. I was browsing back through the archives and I just saw this post.

    The one place in Colorado you can buy Jeni's Splendid is a block from my office. I'll buy a pint there on very special occasions. I bet the book is awesome.

    1. It is awesome. I've never had the actual Jeni's ice cream. I've also made her pumpkin 5-spice, and her dark chocolate with just a little coffee in it for depth. I'll have to get that book out again soon.

    2. I think you should do a post about your favorite cookbooks. I've been meaning to start a collection for years, and have a very few. I know you've mentioned the Thomas Keller stuff now and then.

  2. That's a great idea-- thanks!