When April rolls around, the first thing I think about making is this ice cream. Actually, the first thing I think about eating is this ice cream. My obsession goes back to April 2006 when Ryan and I went to our first of many Red Sox games together. The weather in Boston in early April can be hit or miss. Some days can still feel like winter, so we were worried about it ahead of time, but it ended up being a gorgeous day that felt like summer. We even made an impromptu trip to the Gap so Ryan could buy some shorts.
We found ourselves at JP Licks on Newbury street and I, always a huge fan of seasonal flavors, chose Green Monster Tea, which was one of the chain’s “April” flavors. Opening Day at Fenway, “Green Monster” Tea, get it? The ice cream was amazing, of course, because everything from JP Licks is amazing. It ended up being one of those perfect, unforgettable days that you sometimes have, so this ice cream will always be linked in my mind with that feeling.
By the way, Ryan loves this ice cream too, but his overriding memory of this day? The Red Sox were playing the Blue Jays and Matt Clement was pitching.
Every April from then on, I would make sure to stop by JP Licks for a cone, or even better a whole quart, of this flavor. I know it was popular because it would often be sold out, but JP Licks stopped making this flavor a few years ago. I suspect it is because of the high price of matcha, which is a shame. Since matcha seems to be super popular right now, I am holding out hope that the flavor will someday return!
In the meantime, I found this promising recipe for green tea ice cream by David Lebovitz via Annie’s Eats. I wanted to try it badly enough to buy an ice cream maker. It is always disappointing when you’re trying to recreate something and it doesn’t work, but I have made this recipe a few times now, and I am happy to say that it is just right! Since it’s custard based, containing egg yolks, the texture is really smooth, not grainy like some other homemade ice cream recipes I have tried.
Green Monster Tea Ice Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp matcha
6 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
In a large bowl, whisk the matcha into the cream, eliminating as many lumps as possible. (The heat will dissolve the rest later.) Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, and set this aside as well.
Heat the milk in a sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Once the sugar dissolves, remove from heat. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid allowing the egg to cook.
Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat, still whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 175° and thickens slightly.
Pour the milk and egg mixture through a fine strainer (to remove any bits of cooked egg that may have slipped through) and into the bowl with the cream and matcha. Stir to combine. Any remaining lumps of matcha should dissolve at this point, and a smooth custard should be formed.
Chill the custard in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours at a minimum, and up to 24 hours. Then, follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. I made my ice cream after about an hour, and it came together fine, but your ice cream maker may require a more properly chilled custard to work well. Freeze the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours to harden it up before serving.
By the way, just for fun, I dug up these pictures from the Red Sox game in question. I can’t believe how long ago this was.