FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickrPinterestGoogle+

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Chai Ice Cream

Chai Ice Cream

What is more refreshing than a cup of chai on a hot day? Why, chai ice cream, of course! 

This has got to be simply, my most favourite ice cream of all time, and let's just say, when it comes to ice creams I know what I am talking about. I love the way the spices infuse into the strong tea, and create, well, the only way to describe it is 'warmth'... and yes, I know I am talking about an ice cream here. Anyway, coming back to my point, I love the way the spices create a warmth to this ice cream, and give it a uniquely Indian taste. I can't think of a better dessert to finish off an Indian meal than this delightful ice cream.

Chai Ice Cream

The inspiration for this recipe came from Marcus Wareing's Earl Grey Tea Cream. Tea is a great leveller in India, as it is in England. In England we loved the ultra strong grit-your-teeth flavour of builder's tea (not to mention that its perfect for dunking those Rich Tea biscuits into) and in India, of course, there is nothing as special as chai.  

While the word ‘chai’ actually means tea, (which is why you should never ask for ‘chai tea’, you are basically asking for ‘tea tea’), it is more often associated with tea infused with spices, or masala chai. Spices were infused into tea that was drunk by Indians, with the likely reason being to hide the fact that the tea was inferior to the one exported by the British. As time passed, however, masala chai or chai infused with spices became more and more popular, not just in India, but all over. Chai is now served all over the world, and of course, the actual taste and flavour varies wildly from person to person, with everyone and its Starbucks claiming to make the best chai. Personally, I think I make the best chai... but, as is usual in India, everyone claims to make the best chai.

This ice cream, for me, blends all the character and warmth of that cup of chai into one divine dessert. Personally, I like making this ice cream with granulated (CTC) tea, that you can buy in a lot of Asian grocery stores but you can use strong English breakfast tea instead. Just remember that teabags don't steep as well in milk, so adjust the strength of your ice cream accordingly. If you want to make this for kids, I suggest using decaffeinated tea. 

The crystallised ginger adds a lovely crunchy texture in this ice cream, but you can easily leave it out if you find it too spicy. I have also served this ice cream with toasted almonds which greatly adds to the flavour as well. Experiment with various combinations of spices and ginger to find the taste that suits you best. After all, this is chai we're talking about! 
 
Chai Ice Cream

The photographs for this recipe (all except Number 3) were taken by my hugely talented friend Chris Caldwell. Thank you so much, Chris! 

Recipe: 

1 cup heavy cream (250 ml)
1 cup half and half (250 ml)
1 cup whole milk (250 ml)
1 cup sugar
2 teabags, strong English or Irish breakfast tea (or 2 - 3 tbsp granulated tea, see note on how to use this very Indian tea)
Chai spice mix (see below)
6 large egg yolks

Chai Spice Mix

6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
3 inch stick of cinnamon or cassia bark
1 star anise
5 peppercorns
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped

Garnish:

¼ cup crystallised ginger, chopped
Toasted almonds (optional)

Method:

Place all these spices for the chai spice mix (except the ginger) into a mortar and pestle and crush coarsely. 

Place the heavy cream into a large bowl, and put it into the fridge until it is ready to be used.

In a heavy pot, combine the half and half, whole milk, sugar, tea bags, the chai spice mix and the fresh ginger. Place on a medium heat, stirring for about 4 – 5 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the tea is a light golden colour. Fish out the teabags, and discard.

(Note: If you are using granulated tea, which is stronger and more Indian, you will need to modify step two of the method. Use the following instructions – In a heavy pot, combine the half and half, whole milk, sugar and the granulated tea. Bring to the boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Let the tea infuse for about 3 – 4 minutes, or until it is a golden colour. Strain, discarding the tea granules. Add the crushed chai spices and the fresh ginger, and then continue on the step three below)

Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the milky, spicy mixture, and leave to infuse for about ½ hour.

Strain out the spices and gently rewarm the chai mixture. 
Place the egg yolks in a bowl, and whisk until creamy. Slowly add the warmed chai mixture, whisking constantly, then scrape this mixture back into the pot.

Cook on a medium low heat for 8 – 10 minutes, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Take off the heat immediately, then strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir together and let it chill, until it is completely cold.

When the mixture is cold, churn in an ice cream machine, following its instructions. Add the chopped crystallised ginger in the last five minutes of churning.

Serve with toasted almonds, if desired. 

Chai Ice Cream

33 comments :

  1. I have been dreaming of chai icecream for a few days now.. I was going to make it tomorrow.But looks like I don't have to work at developing a recipe.. You did the work for me (wicked laugh)

    Hugs soul sister!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soul sistah, indeed :) See how much hard work I do for you? So enjoy, and let me know how it goes :)

      Delete
  2. Love love love this post Mich..the ice cream looks divine and so Indian, I wish I could taste some (even though I am not an ice cream person at all!) Love the idea of serving it with toasted almonds! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shireen. Its actually pretty good, and weirdly tastes just like chai, including all the spices, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.

      Delete
  3. I have been wanting to try and make ice cream. This is going to be one of the first recipes I try.

    Sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Redawna, its a pretty nice recipe. We make this in our Indian classes.

      Delete
  4. I hate tea, but I am enjoying your photos. Just beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Smitha Mascarenhas23 July 2012 04:46

    Hi, Congrats on the new blog. I am not able to go thro' your recipe index. Can see the message "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist." Hope the old recipes are not deleted forever....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Smitha, I am not sure what happened, but try again. I think its working now. Maybe you were following a older link?

      Delete
  6. hi there.. am new to ur blog.. came here thru food gawker seeing the chai icecream... love the idea of a chai icecream..
    i cannot access teh about you and recipe ndex..
    also i have a small doubt regarding the ingredients of this recipe.. teh second item says 1 cup half and half.. of what??? i dont get it.. am i the only stupid who has not figured it out?? ( cos no one mentions anything? or is something missing there??/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Renu, thank you and welcome to my site. Try the recipe index again, I think for a short while it was not working, but its fixed now. Let me know if there are any more problems. Sometimes Blogger does act up a bit.

      'Half and half' is half cream + half whole milk. It is sold here as 10% cream, and called 'Half and half'. You can substitute whole milk for that part, or if you have cream, then add 1/2 cup cream + 1/2 cup milk which will give you the 10% cream. I realise its a bit confusing.

      If you are in Europe, then you use what we call single cream.

      Delete
  7. This is a wonderful way of treating chai! Perfect for summer! The subtle sweet spicy flavour of the chai must work soooooo well with the iced creaminess. Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susan, it sure is. The texture is incredibly creamy, especially since I used the French style and used a cooked custard. I love these flavours!

      Delete
  8. That's an awfully good looking ice cream! I never thought of making chai-flavoured ice cream - might just have to give this recipe a try! Fabulous pics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anita, absolutely. It works really really well, as sweet chai is so naturally creamy too.

      Delete
  9. Interesting ice cream.. I love masala tea and ice cream combining these 2 lovely...Very nice picture...

    Great-secret-of-life.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Veena. I have been making this recipe for a while now, and I only posted it now after I perfected it.

      Delete
  10. Looks amazingly delish!! I am craving for chai, right about now :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I know what you mean Kiran. Whenever I see this post, I think, oh, I should go make some chai :)

      Delete
  11. incredible flavors - I can only imagine how fantastic this must taste :))
    Mary x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary. Its is pretty delicious... I test this all the time on our cooking class students and everyone loves it!

      Delete
  12. This looks so good! And absolutely agree--"warm" is the best way to describe all those spices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Danguole, thanks. I thought for a while for adjectives to describe the taste, but only warm seemed to suit, which is technically quite weird to use for ice cream :)

      Delete
  13. This sounds so different. I always read the word chai latte, but never knew what it was. A bit behind the times over here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, Mum. Technically, a chai latte means tea with milk, and a bit of a weird combination of Indian and Italian. But I get the principle. I really find it funny though, when people say chai tea, and I've corrected many servers :) Most seem to take it in good humour.

      Delete
  14. Warmth in an ice cream sounds odd but I know what you mean. This is a lovely idea. All that talk about tea has made me thirsty - I'm going to make a pot of Assam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An Assam sounds just about right here too Phil, cheerios! Though, mine would be Nilgiri, have been saving it for special ocasions. I am fast running out of my Indian teas though, I need to find someone from India to get me some :)

      Delete
  15. OOOh i love chai. The idea of a lovely ice cream with these warming spices sounds delicious

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks WLM... this is such a delicious ice cream for sure.

      Delete
  16. Hi Michelle, just found your blog and love a good Indian recipe guide. Chai ice cream is looking good though, I love my original ice creams as you'll find on my blog. Looking forward to following you.

    Dave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave. Your site is absolutely stunning, and I am your newest follower. Cheers!

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing back from my friends and readers. Please let me know how you liked this post, and if you would consider making this recipe, or have already made it. Please take a moment to post pictures on my Facebook page, if you do happen to take a couple :)

Please note, that due to the enormous amount of spam comments I've been getting, I am re-enabling comment moderation. Your comment will be visible on approval. Apologies in advance.