I love Thai iced tea, and so does my son Tim. He always orders it if we’re at a restaurant that has it on the menu. So it was only natural that, as I started experimenting in the kitchen to come up with a good recipe for Green Tea Ice Cream, I couldn’t help but think that Thai Tea Ice Cream would be just as good. Or even better, since it already is typically served sweet and creamy.
Thai tea has a unique flavor and a cool orange color. The flavor comes from the star anise powder that’s blended in with the black tea, as well as orange blossoms. Some varieties include cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and sometimes, rose tea leaves. No wonder it tastes so awesome with cream! It also has food coloring added, and if you need any additional proof of that, look at my fingers after brushing some of the tea off my table with my bare hands.
Orange mutant ninja fingers. I was tempted to lick them just for kicks, but decided against it. Nope. As far as you know, I didn’t do it.
This ice cream was very easy to make, since I already used a similar method to make my Honey Vanilla Chamomile Garlic Coconut Ginger Chicken Adobo Ice Cream. Minus the garlic and chicken adobo. (Sorry, I’m loopy from puffing on my inhaler today.)
To give you an idea of how good this was, Tim—who is very particular about the texture of ice cream and wants it properly frozen with some bite to it—had a serving and a half of this while it was still in its soft serve state. He took one taste and said, “Now that’s good.”
Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream
1 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk (I used whole milk)
4 tablespoons loose leaf Thai tea
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Put the half-and-half or milk in a sauce pan and scald the milk. Add the Thai tea and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once it comes to a simmer, take it off the heat and continue to stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool, allowing the tea to continue steeping, then add the heavy cream. Put the mixture in the refrigerator and let it get cold. You can also stick it in the freezer to speed up the process.
Strain, then pour into your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes about 1.5 quarts.
Tip: I used a coffeemaker basket strainer (or you can line a regular strainer with a paper coffee filter) to strain the mixture, as the tea can have very small particles that ordinary strainers won’t catch.
The ice cream tastes exactly like the drink because, well, it has exactly the same ingredients. It’s a wonderful end to any meal. The process is incredibly simple, and I fully intend to experiment with other tea variations. Early Grey, chai, jasmine …
I think I may have to start making ice cream in half-batches. This could get ugly. And I mean that in an utterly delicious way.