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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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Elevate your dessert game with the perfect vanilla jasmine ice cream recipe

A pint of the second version of vanilla jasmine ice cream. The French base unveils the fusion of floral jasmine tea and vanilla flavors, making a complementary blend of complexity. JUSTIN LEE/THE STATESMAN

A few spoonfuls of a sweet dessert make for the perfect finale of a great meal. That last bite of dinner can make or break an unforgettable experience, and desserts deserve just as much time and care as any main course.

Just like a sourdough starter or dry-aged prime rib, the best foods require patience. This vanilla jasmine ice cream may test yours, but the results are worth it. The silky, smooth French custard base unveils an intricate blend of floral jasmine tea and delicate vanilla flavors. 

The complementary and complex flavor of jasmine tea can only be achieved by a prolonged cold infusion similar to cold brewing coffee. This method is done to extract more of the tea’s light and sweet floral flavor. A short, hot extraction results in a bolder taste that makes for a great morning cup of tea but not ice cream. Three days is the perfect amount of time to capture the wide array of nuances from the tea leaves.

With jasmine being the primary flavor, using high-quality tea is crucial for the best results. Inexpensive and low-quality tea will lack the rich subtleties that make this recipe special. Sunflower is a beloved Chinese brand that hits the sweet spot between price and flavor. Its delicate sweetness contrasting with its roasted dryness makes for an amazing cup of tea and a stellar ice cream.

Flavor is half the battle when it comes to ice cream; texture is equally as important. Options for stabilizers range from guar gum and gelatin to commercial additives such as carrageen. Egg yolks are an amazing stabilizer, as they offer a velvety texture and richness. French chefs have been making ice cream this way since the 18th century. 

This egg yolk technique requires tempering: the gradual heating of the base to a safe temperature. If heated too quickly, the egg will curdle and scramble in the ice cream base, leaving it tasting like a breakfast dish. It’s best to use a double boiler and thermometer to ensure gentle and even heating. Just set a metal bowl over a small pot of simmering water, leaving a space between the bottom of the bowl and the simmering water. A sous vide machine will work brilliantly for large batches. Just set it to 185 degrees F and cook for one hour. 

Speaking of over-the-top and borderline unnecessary appliances, ice cream machines are great tools that, sadly, aren’t very accessible. Thankfully, food content creator Adam Ragusea is here to the rescue with the two-bowl method. With just ice, two bowls and salt, making light and fluffy ice cream is within reach for everyone. 

I use the Food Genie Dessert Station, which takes a solid container of ice cream base and rapidly spins a blade through it while pumping in air to create soft and creamy ice cream. It copies the technology found in $8,000 ice cream machines that Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world use. If you have the budget, I highly recommend the Food Genie Dessert Station.

Alternatively, the Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker is very highly rated and is worth considering. 

Whichever method you choose, don’t let it deter you from making stunning desserts like this one. With time and practice, you’ll be developing ice cream recipes that you can call your own!

Vanilla Jasmine Ice Cream

  • Active Time: 1 hour
  • Passive Time: 3 days
  • Total Time: 3 days and 1 hour
  • Serves: 3-4

Tools:

  • Whisk
  • Strainer
  • Ladle
  • Thermometer 
  • Ice cream machine (or two-bowl method)

Ingredients: 

  • 250 g milk
  • 250 g cream
  • 25 g loose leaf jasmine tea 
  • 100 g egg yolks (approximately 6 extra large)
  • 70 g sugar 
  • 2 g salt 
  • 12 g vanilla paste 

Instructions:

  1. Combine milk, cream and tea leaves in a bowl. Set in the fridge to infuse for three days.
  2. Strain the infused milk and cream and heat on the stove on low until warm.
  3. In a double boiler setup, combine egg yolks, sugar and salt. 
  4. While whisking continuously, slowly ladle the warm cream and heat until the custard reaches 185 degrees F.
  5. Immediately set in an ice bath until cold. 
  6. Stir in vanilla paste. Optionally cure in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
  7. Churn and enjoy.
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