Matcha Ice Cream

My Japanese food kick continues, and is on to the dessert course with matcha (green tea) ice cream!   I am so impressed with how this turned out. The green colour is eye-popping, and the flavour is slightly sweet, with a hint of that characteristic matcha umami.  This ice cream has got me feeling all heart-eyes emoji.

Matcha is a bright green, fine powder made from ground green tea leaves. Matcha has grown in popularity recently due to its high concentration of antioxidants and purported health benefits. One cup of matcha has the antioxidant concentration of 10 cups of green tea! Although the research on matcha is still emerging, some of the potential health effects are:

  • High concentration of antioxidants = decreased risk of cancer, and a boost to your immune system
  • A molecule called catechins found in matcha may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • About half the caffeine than 1 cup of brewed coffee (but more than in 1 cup of green tea)
  • In a study using diabetic rats, regular matcha consumption over 16 weeks showed significant improvements and protection of liver and kidney functioning (this hasn’t been shown to be true in humans yet, but interesting nonetheless).

            Wait, does this mean that ice cream is healthy now?

Yes! Personally, I love ice cream, and I operate under an “all foods fit” mantra, so ice cream can be part of a nutritious diet.

All foods can be part of a healthy diet. Adding one "good" or "bad" food such as ice cream, or matcha, or kale, or French fries, won’t make or break your health. Instead of thinking about “good” vs. “bad” foods, try to focus on the overall quality of your diet by doing things like:

  • having vegetables and/or fruit at every meal,
  • choosing unprocessed foods as often as possible,
  • and drinking plenty of water instead of drinks with added sugar.

For those of you who are interested in trying matcha, you can drink it as a tea, make into a latte, add it to smoothies or oatmeal, or use it to make ice cream using my recipe below! And for anyone who is already onboard the matcha train, I would love to hear how you use it in the comments!  

Matcha Ice Cream

Ingredients

3 cups whole milk, divided

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 pinch of salt

3 tbsp matcha powder (I used culinary grade)

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups milk over medium low heat until just about to boil, stirring occasionally. Remove immediately from heat when the first bubbles start to appear. 

While milk is heating, whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until completely combined and egg yolks are pale yellow.

When milk is heated, temper the eggs to prevent the eggs from cooking and forming lumps in the ice cream. To temper, slowly add one ladle of hot milk at a time to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. I like to add 2-3 ladles full of milk total. Then, pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining heated milk.

Heat the egg-milk mixture over medium low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, or until it reaches a temperature of 170F. 

When the mixture has thickened, immediately pour it into a medium bowl, straining if necessary to get rid of any lumps. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups of cold milk. Stir in salt and matcha powder until completely dissolved. Refrigerate mixture until completely cooled, about 4 hours. (It is important to allow the mixture to cool completely, otherwise the texture of the ice cream won't be as smooth).

Once chilled, pour the ice cream mixture into an ice cream churner, and churn as per manufacturer's directions. Store in the freezer.