'The true cook is the perfect blend, the only perfect blend, of artist and philosopher. He knows his worth: he holds in his palm the happiness of mankind, the welfare of generations yet unborn.'

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Green tea ice cream... sort of!

Too sweet!
One of the nice things about living in Asia is easy access to green tea desserts. They have always been popular here in Hong Kong, but in the past few years vendors selling green tea soft serve ice cream have popped up everywhere in the city. You will see very long queues at these places paying pretty steep prices (US$5?) for a cone of green tea ice cream.

For a matcha addict like myself, it's nice to be able to slurp on matcha ice cream while hanging out, but they are invariably TOO sweet and rather stingy on the amount of matcha they put in. I want more green tea! (Well, some of my friends actually think they're matcha enough, but not for me!) Much better, then, to whip up your own icy matcha dessert! Since not everyone has an ice cream machine, I'm opting for a parfait which is in essence whipped egg yolks folded with whipped cream - similar to the Italian semifreddo. It is then frozen and usually sliced for serving. This frozen dessert is very popular in the UK and France but rarer in the US, where 'parfait' means some kind of layered dessert. This version as a pure, unadulterated matcha flavour unhindered by excessive sugar. It can be served as it is or as a component of plated desserts.

Green tea parfait
This is extremely easy to make so long as you have an electric whisk... and are ready to splash out on good, expensive matcha!

4 egg yolks, at room temperature
60g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
15g (2 tbsp) matcha powder
250ml (1 cup) whipping or double cream

Line a tupperware (about 500ml capacity) with cling film.

1. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar on high speed for 6-8 minutes until thick and glossy.

2. Sift the matcha powder into another roomy bowl. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the cream to moisten the powder. If you add too much at once it will become lumpy! Once a smooth paste is formed, gradually whisk in the rest of the cream. Whip the mixture until soft peak stage. Do not overwhip at this stage.

3. Now mix in about a quarter of the matcha whipped cream (2) into the egg yolk mixture (1) and combine thoroughly. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream in a few additions.

4 Transfer the mixture into the prepared tupperware, cover and freeze for at least 5 hours. To serve, either scoop like ice cream, or take the whole block of parfait out by lifting the cling film and slice. Let soften at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving. The texture is creamiest on the first day.

Variation: for a lighter but icier texture, add two egg whites whipped with half of the sugar to soft peak stage and fold in together with the whipped cream.

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