I’ve been looking for a mint ice cream recipe for a long time and I was really intrigued when I found this recipe that uses fresh mint instead of mint extract or creme de menthe neither of which I could ever seem to find. This was also around the time the Oreo cookie turned 100 years old. Ding ding ding! A spin on the classic pairing of mint and chocolate chip – mint and Oreo!
A few words on the difference between ice cream and gelato before we proceed. I read up on it a little bit and it seems like gelato is made with more milk (as opposed to cream) and egg yolks than ice cream. The former also has less air which makes for a richer and denser product. Given these criteria, I wondered if every batch of ice cream I churn out of my ice cream maker would be considered gelato but then the one I made with cornstarch instead of eggs to thicken came to mind. I therefore conclude that gelato is the honest and wholesome-goodness version of ice cream.
Let’s make some, shall we? To make fresh mint and Oreo gelato, you’ll need:
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
vanilla extract to taste
1 bunch fresh mint
7 Oreo cookies
green food coloring
1. Separate the mint leaves from the stems. Wash them and blot with a paper towel to dry. Transfer mint into an airtight container (or medium bowl) and pour in the milk. Cover and let steep in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
2. Strain the milk. From this point onwards, I stopped following the procedure of the original recipe and reverted back to the way I know how to make custard. I followed it to the letter the first time and I ended up curdling my custard. Twenty-four hours of waiting for mint milk gone to waste, it was so tragic! It was absolutely my fault of course, I’m not used to having two things going at the same time. Anyway.
3. Transfer the milk into a medium pan on low heat. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.
4. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add some of the scalded mint milk into the bowl and whisk to temper the eggs. Add back into the pan. Add vanilla extract.
5. Keep stirring and cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat your spatula. When you run your finger down the spatula, the line should hold. Weee, custard!
6. Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will prevent a skin from forming on top as it cools. Chill in the refrigerator for about 3 hours up to overnight.
7. Once the custard is chilled, we can color! You can skip this step but I felt weird about mint ice cream, oh sorry, gelato that isn’t green. And I was excited to try my hand at coloring custard, really. I started with a drop and worked my way to the perfect green for me. I only needed about three.
8. Churn the custard in the ice cream maker. While it’s churning, break up the Oreos into pieces. Try not to eat too many.
9. When the gelato is churned to soft-serve consistency, drop in the Oreo pieces. Finish churning and transfer to an airtight container. Freeze the rest of the way in the freezer.
Flavor-wise, it’s lacking in the mint department and oddly kinda tastes like the basil ice cream I made before. Or, since they both seem to share this particular flavor, maybe it is the taste of plant life. Bottom line is, it just doesn’t deliver the same punch of minty-ness as commercial mint ice cream. However, the faint mint flavor with the Oreos is nice and I find myself reaching for it. Did I mention gelato has less fat than ice cream? *evil grin*
Fun Food Fact: I’m not joking. Gelato really has less fat than ice cream.