Matcha ice cream brings back memories of eating sushi with my family. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley (Northridge, represent!), but my dad drove us all around Los Angeles in search of the best restaurants he could find before the internet existed. Japanese food, especially sushi, was one of his – and my family's – favorite things to eat. We'd go to Little Tokyo, West LA, Torrance, Gardena, and even some decent spots in the Valley. Wherever we ate, my dad would always insist that we cap our sushi meal with a scoop of matcha ice cream. I came to associate its deep, earthy flavor and pea-green hue with being happily-satiated and well-loved.
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to make my own matcha ice cream for the Umami Chef Challenge: Matcha Edition*. I tried several recipes, including one from my go-to ice cream guide, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, the cookbook by San Francisco's Bi-Rite Creamery, but I found the recipe's custard base was actually too rich and too creamy for matcha. I wanted more of the tea's earthy flavor, which the egg-based custard overpowered and neutralized. I also found it a tad too sweet for my taste. Another recipe I found was closer to the flavor I was looking for, but perhaps a little too icy in texture. It reminded me of ice milk, which wasn't unpleasant, but not quite ice cream. I needed something in between these two.
In my research, I found a lot of recipes for "no-churn" ice cream, which didn't involve eggs, but still used heavy cream. After testing a few, I developed my own recipe for the perfect matcha ice cream. Using only three ingredients and no ice cream machine, this is the easiest, best tasting, and best textured matcha ice cream of all the batches I tried making. And, it delivers on bringing me back to those happy days as a kid.
(*Try the other recipe in this month’s Umami Chef Challenge: Matcha Sesame Tofu Two Ways)
Super Easy, No-Churn Matcha Ice Cream
Makes 1 pint
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
6 oz condensed milk
1-1/2 tbsp Mizuba Tea Co. Daily Matcha powder
1. Warm cream in a pot over medium-low heat until just warmed through, about 4 minutes. Do not let the cream come to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and add matcha. Whisk thoroughly to break down the powder. It should look frothy and light green, without any visible dark green powder chunks.
3. Transfer to another bowl or container and allow cream to come to room temperature. During this cooling period, the matcha will infuse its flavor into the cream. Once room temp, cover with plastic wrap or lid and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours.
4. Strain the chilled cream through a double-strainer to catch any undissolved matcha powder chunks.
5. Use a stand mixer, hand mixer, or just a whisk and metal bowl to turn your matcha cream into matcha whipped cream! I chose to do it by hand. Whip the cream until it just forms stiff peaks. Be careful not to whip too much more, or you'll make butter! When reading comments on no-churn ice cream, I noticed that some people complained about an unpleasant fatty, filmy tongue-coating creaminess. I think it might be because their cream was over-whipped.
If hand-whipping your cream, place your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer while the cream is chilling. This will help speed up the whipping. Your forearm will thank you for it.
6. Fold in the condensed milk until just thoroughly combined.
7. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent ice crystals. Place in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or until completely frozen.
Conbini Creations is an experiment in cooking with ingredients found in the conbini, or convenience store section, of Umami Mart’s Oakland retail shop.