Calling all tea lovers, I have the perfect treat for you! Creamy and rich homemade ice cream flavoured with Japanese roasted green tea called "hojicha". This ice cream is perfectly sweet and smooth with notes of caramel, you won't believe how good it is! And no ice cream machine required.
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Tea & Japan
As you probably already know, Japan is a nation of tea lovers! Not only do we drink it every day (hot or cold!) but we also use it to flavour various sweets. You name the sweet, I bet I can tell you a tea flavoured version.
5 MOST COMMON TYPES OF GREEN TEA IN JAPAN
In Japanese, the umbrella term for green tea is "ryokucha" (緑茶). Ryokucha is probably the most popular kind of tea in Japan, and comes in 5 main types. (There's definitely more though.)
- Matcha (抹茶): Green tea leaves grinded slowly with stone mill.
- Gyokuro (玉露): Once the shoots open, the leaves are covered and grown in the shade for 3-4 weeks. One of the most expensive teas in Japan.
- Sencha（煎茶): The most popular type of green tea in Japan.
- Bancha (番茶): A lower grade of green tea made with the last harvest of the season.
- Hojicha (ほうじ茶): Generally, a roasted version of sencha or bancha.
Hojicha tea is considered a type of green tea. It might not be green anymore, but it started its life as bancha or sencha which are both types of green tea.
The taste and colour of hojicha is achieved by roasting it at a high temperature in a porcelain pot. This process results in a reddish brown tea with a delicious, soft, toasty flavour and subtle notes of caramel. In my opinion, hojicha is seriously underrated!
Because of the high heat in which it's roasted, hojicha has a lower caffeine content and is commonly enjoyed in the evening or after a meal.
Although the most common way to drink tea in Japan is straight with nothing added, hojicha and milk is seriously delicious. Check out my iced hojicha latte recipe here.
Making Hojicha Ice Cream
Other than hojicha tea, my ice cream recipe only requires a few ingredients, all of them are easily accessible!
- Egg yolks
- Heavy cream
- Corn starch
My favourite way to make ice cream is by making a custard with egg yolks first. To be honest, it tastes so good, it's hard to resist just eating it as a custard haha.
HAND CHURN METHOD (NO ICE CREAM MACHINE)
As much as I love to make ice cream, my tiny Japanese kitchen won't fit an ice cream maker. That's why I opt for hand churned ice cream recipes. Here are the steps I follow to make ice cream by hand! This recipe works for most kinds of tea, be creative with your favourite teas! (I love earl grey and jasmine tea flavour ice cream too!)
- First, add the cold milk and 2-3 teabags to a saucepan. Leave them in there while you prepare your other ingredients.
- Mix the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch in a heatproof bowl.
- Heat up the pan of milk and stir the tea bags around to help release the flavour. Don't allow it to boil.
- When you start to see tiny bubbles around the side, add the cream.
- Continue to heat until the little bubbles start appearing around the edge again. Once they do, turn off the heat and remove the teabags. (I use tongs and squeeze the teabags out.)
- Temper the eggs and sugar mixture by adding a ladle of the hot milk/cream to the bowl and whisk it well. This prevents the egg chunks in the mixture.
- Gradually pour the rest of the milk and cream into the bowl while whisking and then pour it back into the saucepan.
- Stir continuously on a low heat until it thickens into a thin custard consistency.
- Transfer it to a loaf tin and cover the top with plastic wrap touching the surface. (This is to prevent a skin from forming.)
- Allow the mixture to cool down, I like to speed up the process by placing the loaf tin in a bowl of ice.
- Once it's cool, put it in the freezer and whisk every 30 minutes for 3 hours. (6 times in total)
- After the final churn, freeze for 3-4 hours and enjoy! (After 4 hours or so, it will need 5-10 minutes on the counter top to soften before serving.)
Tips to guarantee successful ice cream
- Don't allow the milk or cream to boil, this will effect the taste and texture. Keep it on a low heat, take your time.
- If you make this recipe in the morning, it should be ready by the afternoon!
- If the teabag breaks, do not fear! Just pass the mixture through a strainer to remove it.
- When churning, set a timer so you don't forget.
- I churn 6 times, but of course you can churn more than that. The more you churn, the softer the ice cream will be.
- I recommend wide containers rather than tall ones, it will freeze faster!
- If you double or triple the recipe, use 2-3 containers otherwise it will take longer to freeze.
- Eat within 1-2 weeks for best taste and texture.
How to Make Hojicha Ice Cream Step by Step
Hojicha is a type of Japanese tea made by roasting green tea (usually bancha or sencha) in a porcelain pot over charcoal.
Hojicha has a toasty, smooth taste with hints of caramel flavour. It's not as bitter as regular green tea.
A lot of the caffeine is cooked away during the roasting process, but hojicha is made from green tea so it still contains a small amount of caffeine.