I think that I've finally landed on my absolute favorite ice cream that I've made to date. I had the idea of taking the base of the Coffee Ice Cream that I made and adapting it to become chai tea ice cream by using tea bags instead of coffee beans and adding chai spices. I love chai tea and prefer it spicy and not super sweet and this recipe was absolutely delicious. Seriously, I cannot overstate how much I liked it and it completely affirmed to me why I own an ice cream maker and why homemade is the best. Just like the coffee ice cream, it's not surprising that this much heavy cream, egg yolks, and whole milk makes for a creamy ice cream with a smooth texture. While black tea doesn't pack the caffeine punch of coffee, it still might be a good idea to find a good quality decaffeinated black chai tea, especially if you're going to serve this to kids.
Chai Tea Ice Cream (makes one quart)
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1.5 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 Chai Tea teabags (black tea)
pinch of salt
1.5 c. heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cardamom
Heat the milk, sugar, tea bags, salt, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cloves, cardamom and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until warm and steamy, but not boiling. At this point, cover, remove from the heat and let it steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Put a medium sized bowl on top of a larger bowl filled with ice. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into that medium sized bowl. Set a mesh strainer over the bowl with the cream and set aside.
Remove the teabags and squeeze them to get all the flavor into the mixture. Then, heat the milk/tea mixture over medium heat until it gets hot and steamy again (but don't boil). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the egg yolks by whisking constantly while adding a couple of tablespoons of the hot milk mixture at a time. You don't want to cook the egg yolks, but raise the temperature. Then, whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the tea & milk mixture and stir constantly. Keep stirring over medium heat with a spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the custard thickens and coats the spatula. You're looking for it to be thick enough that if you run your finger across the spatula, it won't run. This took me almost 10 minutes.
Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and stir until cool. Chill completely in your refrigerator and then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to your maker's directions.