How I Learned to Make Tea Gelato
Quite by accident, the house I’m spending time in this summer is equipped with an ice cream maker – something I’d never used before. Since I happened to show up with too much tea (imagine that), I decided to combine the two and found that there’s nothing like smooth and creamy gelato infused with loose-leaf tea. So here’s my formula to make tea gelato.
If you have an ice cream maker (old-style makers start at $10, and fully automatic ones are $50 – $60), steep and churn a tea-themed homemade dessert at your next summer party. You can experiment with sorbet, gelato, custard, and even frozen tea-infused chocolate truffles. Tea sorbets are nuanced and sophisticated. Enjoying the flavor of a familiar tea in a new texture can renew your appreciation for it.
The Earl of Grey gelato recipe that I’m sharing here is in a world of its own. I made one version with fat-free half-and-half, and no one would have ever guessed. Although I’m generally not one to add milk to tea when I’m drinking it, there is something to be said for getting the most extraction of fat-soluble flavor compounds in milk. If you try the steep and churn approach, you’ll likely keep your ice cream maker busy all season long and never go back to the grocery store freezer for another pint.
Yields 4 servings
- 1-3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (mixed together)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1 T Earl of Grey tea leaves
Creamy Earl Grey flavored gelato made with TeaSpot’s Earl of Grey tea.
Pour whole milk and cream into a heavy saucepan. Add the sugar and heat over a medium heat until near boiling. Remove from the heat. Add tea leaves, and steep for 6 minutes.
Strain out the tea. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk to combine. Pour this into the saucepan and whisk again.
Return to a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure the milk doesn’t burn. Once the mixture is the consistency of thin gravy, take it off the heat and put it in a bowl to cool to room temperature. Then put the bowl in the refrigerator to cool completely.
Follow your ice cream maker’s directions to freeze the gelato. When it’s finished, swirl in the blueberry mixture with a spatula, if desired.
Add a Fruit Swirl (optional):
1/2 cup fruit of your choice (I used blueberries)
1 T sugar
1 t cornstarch
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir constantly and crush the fruit, making sure the cornstarch blends in well. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Cool to room temperature and then keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
This article has been updated from the original publiation date, July 9, 2013.
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Very interesting idea. I wouldn’t have thought the taste of tea would survive all the fruit and sugar. I love the use of tea to inspire a more traditional summer favorite. I’ve never made my own gelato but you’ve certainly inspired me to give it a try. It sounds yummy.
Oh Maria…and you chose Earl Grey. Love it!! Can smell the bergamot and taste the creaminess! Chef Wemischner now has some competition here for recipes! :)
Thank you Diane, but I would never think to compete with Robert on the recipe front! Mine are the most simple of foods, but yes, the flavors are what make them wonderful… perhaps as a side scoop to one of Chef Wemischner’s pastries.
I’m a ‘chef groupie’ Maria, so no one can replace Chef Wemischner! Looking forward to trying this recipe on a hot, Earl Grey kind of day!
I cannot wait to try this! A little trip to Trader Joe’s tomorrow and I will let you know how it comes out. We just made an avocado ice cream a week ago and it was fantastic!