Inspired by the refreshing iced beverage from Thailand, this boldly colored ice cream is the pick-me-up you didn’t know you needed. Like the drink that inspired it, this ice cream recipe uses sweetened condensed milk in the base instead of sugar. In addition to replicating the flavor of the drink perfectly, sweetened condensed milk also gives the ice cream an ultra-creamy consistency.
The color and flavor of this ice cream come from a Thai tea mix, which is a blend of Ceylon black or green tea with added flavorings and coloring. I used Pantai brand, which can be found in many Asian markets or online. If you can’t find it, you can use strong black tea instead, but your ice cream won’t have the vibrant orange color or quite as distinct a flavor.
This recipe is made using the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment. The Ice Cream Maker Attachment is one of my all-time favorites, and not only because I love ice cream. With it, you can make delicious homemade ice cream without another machine cluttering up your kitchen.
Instead, simply replace the bowl of the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer with the insulated freezer bowl, position the ice cream paddle and dasher, and let the Stand Mixer do its thing, transforming the liquid base into soft, creamy ice cream in no time flat.
Making homemade ice cream is downright easy, but it does require some advanced planning; I usually give myself at least three days from start to finish, though the active time is less than 60 minutes in total. The key throughout all steps of the process is cold, cold, cold.
I recommend putting the Ice Cream Maker Attachment in the freezer for at least 48 hours before churning your ice cream to ensure it is nice and cold. Make sure your freezer is 0° F or below. Use a freezer thermometer to make sure it’s actually the temperature it says it is.
Plan on making the ice cream base on one day, then let it cool and fully chill overnight (the colder the better) before churning. While the ice bath works to cool the ice cream base, you’ll find an overnight chill will allow your ice cream to churn more quickly, resulting in a creamier consistency with less air and smaller ice crystals.
Finally, if you prefer firmer ice cream, allow for another overnight freeze for your ice cream after churning. This will firm it even further from the consistency of soft serve to the consistency of the firm, scoopable ice cream we’re used to.
When making ice cream, most recipes call for an ice bath. Rather than try to deal with two bowls of the proper size to nest inside one another, I prefer to use a zip-top freezer bag. Pour your warm ice cream base into the bag, seal it (removing as much air as possible, and then submerge it in your ice bath. The increased surface area the bag provides will cool your base much quicker than if you used a bowl.
A batch of ice cream typically takes about 15-20 minutes to fully churn, depending on the temperature of all the elements involved: your ice cream base, your freezer, and your kitchen. The ice cream is done when it is the consistency of soft serve. For smooth ice creams like this one without any chips or add-ins, I usually know it’s done when the Stand Mixer starts clicking (that means the ice cream is thick).
While you can enjoy the soft ice cream immediately, firmer ice cream will need to be transferred to a freezer-safe container (tip: put the container in the freezer while the ice cream is churning, so it’s already cold when you add the freshly churned ice cream).
After an overnight chill, the ice cream is firm, creamy, and downright delicious.
To keep your ice cream fresh, for up to one month, I also recommend pressing a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream before returning it to the freezer. That will keep the top from getting freezer burn.
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Thai Tea Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Thai Tea mix (available at Asian markets or online; substitute black tea if you can’t find Thai Tea mix)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Pour the heavy cream into a zip-top bag and place in a bowl filled with ice water. This will serve as an ice bath to quickly cool the ice cream base.
In a saucepan, combine the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, Thai tea mix, and salt. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring regularly until the mixture just starts to steam. Remove from heat; cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve (to remove more sediment, line the sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth).
Return the cream mixture to medium-low heat until it just starts to steam.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly spoon in some of the warm cream mixture, 1/4 cup or so at a time, whisking vigorously. Continue to spoon in a little warm cream at a time until about half of the cream mixture has been incorporated and yolk mixture is warm to the touch. You want to do this gradually; doing so will temper the egg yolks rather than cook them.
Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 170º F. Do not let it boil.
Pour mixture through the sieve into the bag with cold cream, discarding any solids. Add the almond extract, seal the bag (pressing out as much air as possible, and submerge in an ice bath.
Once it has come down to room temperature, remove from the water and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
When the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, pour it into the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment. Turn on the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer to low speed and let churn for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. You know it’s done when the ice cream maker starts to click.
Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours or overnight until firm. To keep fresh for up to one month, press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*