Fresh Mint and Spring Peas Ice Cream (#14)

13 06 2012

Earlier this week, my co-worker Andrew brought me a bunch of fresh mint from his community garden in East Vancouver.

garden fresh mint

Garden fresh mint

Seeing that I had already used mint (albeit in extract form) in a classic ice cream recipe just a couple of weeks ago (Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream #12), an unusual ice cream recipe was once again in order.  Mint and peas can be whirled into a wonderful soup… so, why not in ice cream?

You can buy fresh mint at most produce and grocery stores, but use garden fresh mint for this recipe if you can.  Inhale deeply and it smells so amazingly cooling.  Mint also grows like a weed.  If you don’t already have some in your backyard, chances are, your neighbour does and will gladly invite you over to harvest a bunch.  Fresh shelling peas tend to be a bit harder to come by, unless you hit up your local farmers market at the right time.  If you can’t find any, frozen peas will do just fine.  Frozen vegetables are picked at their peak of ripeness and then immediately flash frozen — they can be more delicious and nutritious than “fresh” veggies that have been sitting around for weeks.

peas

Fresh peas at the Saturday Farmers Market in Portland, Oregon. Sadly, I wasn’t able to bring any back with me to Vancouver.  A trusty bag of Green Giant peas worked just fine for this recipe.

The resultant ice cream is a gorgeous bright green colour that screams Hello, Spring!  Still raising an eyebrow at this flavour?  Don’t.  I assure you it’s a wonderful combination on the palette.  Subtle flavours, refreshing, and with an ever so slightly grainy texture, somewhat reminiscent of Matcha Ice Cream #7.  Try it out for yourself!

Fresh Mint and Spring Peas Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

3 cups of peas (enough to yield 2 cups of puree)
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2  cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil (just enough water to cover the peas, once they are added to the pot).  Add the peas, along with a pinch of sugar (no salt!), and boil until they are tender.  This will take about 2 minutes for fresh peas and 3 minutes for frozen peas.  Quickly drain the peas in a colander and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to preserve their bright green colour.
  2. Strain the peas and place them, the mint leaves, and 1/2 cup of the half and half cream into a blender and puree until smooth, scraping the sides down as required.  If your blender is not super powerful, pass the puree through a fine sieve to remove any larger bits.  You should have at least 2 cups of silky pea puree.  Stir in the lemon juice.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  4. Add the honey and 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  6. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  7. When the custard is cool, whisk in the pea puree.
  8. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  9. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
mint and peas ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Radioactive green!”

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