This week's recipe for Sweet Tea Ice Cream comes courtesy of fellow Atlantan and guest blogger, Richard Blais. I have been a huge fan of Chef Blais's food from the first bite of the first meal I ever had from him. It was an amuse bouche on Valentine's Day, 2004 of caramel, asparagus and Parmesan cheese. It may sound strange, but trust me it was delicious and began my mouth's love affair with his food. Chef Blais now has his own company called Trail-Blais which does everything from creative development to public speaking.
A couple of comments about his recipe:
1. If you saw Chef Blais on Top Chef, then you know that he known for his integration of molecular gastronomy and traditional techniques. Locust bean gum is one of those industrial ingredients that can be hard to locate. You can find it at Tierra Spice Company.
2. Because the ice cream is frozen with dry ice, you should not use a ice cream machine. Instead, use a electric stand mixer (like the ones available from Kitchen Aid) with a whisk attachment. The point is to stir the ice cream as it freezes to help control ice crystal formation and let the dry ice do the freezing. I have not made this recipe, but I will try it and report back.
But enough from the Fellow, without further ado, here is Chef Blais's recipe and discussion:
SWEET TEA ICE CREAM from Richard Blais
I’d have to say that sweet tea ice cream has been one of those things we take with us from project to project. Especially being based in the South, we just really love what this recipe brings to the table. It’s mildly creative, I mean, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. It respects tradition, and finally, well, it just makes so much sense.
The birth of sweet tea ice cream, and maybe that sounds a little too serious, is a bit grey in clarity. It was definitely brought to the table by Jeff Sigler who was my pastry chef at Element, as an accompaniment to a lemon based dessert. I’d say it was the thought of lemon, what works well with it, the fact that featuring tea and regional items was something we did frequently ( at BLAIS, we often served a sweet tea amuse in 2 temperatures, and with capsules filled with dehydrated honey ), and Jeff’s spark that brought it to the original menu.
I love that it respects traditional refreshment, but shows it in a new way. And flavorwise I love that it isn’t too sweet at all, an issue I have with sweet tea in general. I also love, that as you look at the simple ingredients, you realize that certainly milk and tea are commonly combined.
The added show piece of freezing the ice cream with dry ice makes the dish even that more snarky, and well, Blaisian. I mean, dry-iced-tea?
SWEET TEA ICE CREAM
3 quarts reduced to 1 pint -- sweet tea right from the fridge
Heavy cream -- 1 quart
Egg yolks -- 7 each
Locust bean gum -- 1 % of the weight of the cream base
Dry ice -- a pound or 2
1. Reduce the tea to thick syrup and cool
2. Warm the cream and tea syrup, then temper in the whipped egg yolks
3. Hydrate the gum in a touch of water, then mix in the cream egg mixture
4. Test for sweetness, and if necessary melt some more sugar into the base
5. Pour cooled ice cream base in the mixer with a whisk attachment
6. Gently drop in crushed small pellets of dry ice into the mixer as it spins on half speed
7. When the base is frozen to your likeness, serve freeze for later.
NOTE: Dry ice is not meant to be eaten on its own. And it’s important that the ice is crushed small enough to dissolve as it’s cooling the fridge. Having the ice cream sit over night will dissolve the dry ice. However, eating it straight from the mixture may leave it carbonated!!!