In baking, sometimes even a disaster can still have a happy ending. I was going to turn those horribly ugly cupcakes into cake crumbs for future use, but it just so happened that last week I tried a recipe for homemade green tea ice cream...and then I promptly forgot about it in the freezer. (Forgetting things is a seriously bad habit of mine.) But actually, it's good that I forgot about it, because now I can have (trimmed up) chocolate cake and green tea ice cream. Hey, all right!
This recipe is from Elizabeth Andoh's Japanese cookbook, Washoku; it's a really terrific resource for homestyle Japanese recipes. It is about as simple as you can get for ice cream (no need for an ice cream maker!) and as long as you have good quality tea, it's really delicious. It's not as creamy as the ice cream I buy, but I also suspect that it's a lot less caloric. And if you are more diligent about whipping it than I was, it'll be smoother.
Green Tea Ice Cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon mirin
2 teaspoons matcha
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Stir the mixture over low heat to melt the sugar and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until syrupy. Add the mirin (which I omitted), stir, and remove the pan from the heat. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the warm syrup and matcha and stir until dissolved. Return this sweet tea concentrate to the saucepan and stir until completely blended. To retain optimal aroma and ensure an intense jade color, do not reheat the mixture. Stir in the milk and half-and-half and mix thoroughly.
Pour the tea and milk mixture into a flat, shallow, freezer-safe container. Tap the container gently on a countertop to force out any air bubbles. Cover and freeze for 1 1/2 hours or until nearly firm. With a handheld mixer, whip the mixture vigorously in a deep bowl. Return the mixture to the same container, re-cover, and freeze again for another 45 minutes, or until firm throughout. Repeat the whipping step one more time to achieve a silkier texture. Makes about 1 pint (unless you keep tasting it).