Friday, 8 June 2012

Fresh mint and raw cacao ice cream - no fuss!

I know I know, it STILL isn't the right weather for ice cream!  But you know, somewhere it is, and I'm going there tonight!!  Coming with me?
So as you saw in my last blog entry, I have recently been introduced to the world of raw cacao and have been busily 'playing' around with it, making custards, drinks, raw bliss balls.... but when I noticed the other day that my mint had been quietly getting away from me and invading my other herbs, a flavour invaded my taste buds... choc mint ice cream!


Most recipes I've seen either use peppermint essence or require infusing the leaves into the cream before draining them off.  Well, the essence doesn't interest me and throwing out the leaves doesn't make sense to me, so instead I decided to just whiz up the whole lot and see what happens!! What happened was a smooth creamy ice cream, with a subtle yet definitely impactful mint flavour, and a textural raw chocolate flavour - the sweetness of the condensed milk offsetting the bitterness of the cacao.
What was missing was the fluro green colour that all too often typifies a mint flavoured ice cream - although I didn't feel it was missing at all.    
Now for those of you who are on the Crio Bru band wagon, as I am now, it would work beautifully in place of the raw cacao nibs.  And for those of you who have neither Crio Bru or raw cacao nibs, apart from missing out (!!), you could use your favourite dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa) and just process it either in the Thermomix or food processor until a small crumble consistency is achieved.
So if I may take my nutritionist hat off for just a moment I can definitely call this a health food!  The antioxidants coming from the whole fresh mint leaves and cacao, and the digestive properties of mint are great reasons alone to get into your kitchen and try this one out!
As with most of my recipes, use it as a guide and then tinker around to suit your taste buds.  Add more mint if you like, if you have spearmint growing too, use a mix of the two herbs, if you have raw cacao powder use that, which will change the look to be much more chocolately in appearance and smoother in texture than my picture below.
Whilst this recipe will do perfectly on its own, it would also work beautifully as an accompaniment to gooey chocolate puddings, hot apple pie, or even sandwiched between two rich chocolately biscuits!
It would also work beautifully with a shot of espresso (and creme de menthe) for an affogato with a twist!
Or speaking of coffee, for a little sweet touch with an after dinner coffee, use a melon baller to make balls of the ice cream, refreeze then dip into a dark chocolate ganache and refreeze again.  You'll be the talk of the town! 

Yes I made this recipe using a Thermomix and domestic ice cream churner.  Possibly a blender or food processor could get you a similar result - just not 100% sure of how small you will get the mint leaves to chop up.  And as I said in my post on my basic ice cream recipe, if you don't have an ice cream machine you could freeze the mixture after its time in the Thermomix and once quite firm but not frozen solid, take it out of the freezer and cut it into rough pieces, quickly blending it again on speed 7 or 8 for 20 seconds then return to the freezer.  This will break up the ice crystals making a more creamy result. 

Fresh mint and raw cacao ice cream

Ingredients

1 good sized handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and patted dry
1/2 - 3/4 c raw cacao nibs (or equal amount of Crio Bru, or 100g dark chocolate) 
500ml cream (I just use the thickened stuff but I'm sure the pure cream would work just as well)
1 tin condensed milk (I tend to use slightly less than a whole tin but the sweetness level is up to you)
2 eggs (free range organic give a lovely rich, creamy colour and are obviously the more ethical choice)

Method

  1. Place raw cacao nibs (or alternatives) in Thermomix (or food processor) and, locking lid, press turbo a couple of times until a fine meal consistency is achieved.  Set aside.
  2. Place mint leaves in Thermomix and chop for 10 seconds on speed 5, using the spatula if necessary to evenly chop the leaves.  
  3. √Ądd cream and mix on speed 4 for 5-10 seconds, until well combined but making sure you don't take the cream too far along the way to butter!!
  4. Secure butterfly into Thermomix jug.  Add eggs and condensed milk and whip on speed 4 for a few minutes (3-5) until you get a thick, glossy consistency.
  5. Add cacao meal and mix for just a few more seconds on speed 4 until evenly distributed.
  6. Prepare your ice cream maker according to instructions and pour mixture into the machine.  Churn as per manufactures recommendations.  I have an old Philips machine which I set on the soft serve setting and let it churn until it really starts to labour (probably 10 minutes past when the light starts flashing).
  7. Work quickly to get the ice cream out into a freezer proof container and place immediately in the freezer.
It can be served immediately or leave to set even more for a few hours.

Enjoy!


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