Orange Tea Ice Cream with Mandarin Puree and Cloves

This month and next, I am exploring the use of tea in my homemade ice cream.  I have many flavors and types of tea that I enjoy, so it has been fun for me to tinker in the kitchen to find the right combination of spicy orange tea blend, mandarin orange puree, orange zest, and fragrant ground cloves to make this tea-riffic treat.

I came up with the idea for this orange version of ice cream when I was looking in my pantry two weeks ago and I saw a few spoonfuls of an orange tea blend left on my shelf.  The tea came from one of the local farmer’s markets in my area, and was a gift to me from a good friend after a day of lunching, tea, and good conversation.

This recipe is my adaptation of a Mango Ice Cream that is featured in The Essential Asian Cookbook.  I have done several variations of this ice cream over the years, on this blog, and otherwise.  Please see my Resources page for more information on the original publication.

Orange Tea Ice Cream with Mandarin Puree and Cloves
Serves 6.

Ingredients:
◊  ½ cup caster sugar (see Method)
  about 1 prepared cup of an orange tea blend, made with boiling water and steeped for about 8 minutes

(Steep the tea long enough to develop a full flavor, but stop before it gets bitter.  For this cup of tea, I used 1 heaping spoonful of a loose leaf tea to nearly a full (small) cup/mug of water.)

  1 11-oz can of peeled mandarin orange segments, drained of juice
  zest of one orange (about 1 tablespoon of zest)
◊  pinch of ground cloves
◊  dash of fresh lemon juice
  2 cups heavy whipping cream

Equipment:
◊  food processor
◊  electric mixer
◊  large plastic food storage container with cover

Method:
If needed, use your food processor before beginning the recipe to blend 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar into caster sugar, a superfine version of sugar.  Blend for a few minutes until you have a very fine, dusty consistency.

Allow the hot tea to cool in a cup as the ice cream is prepared.

Begin by pureeing the mandarin orange segments in the food processor.

This is the best shot I could get of the puree, but it's bright orange!

Next, combine the caster sugar, orange zest, puree of mandarin oranges, and pinch of ground cloves in a large stainless mixing bowl.  Add the tea and mix well, until the sugar is well-blended and dissolved.

I love that an orange like this...

Can yield such aromatic zest! This shot was taken before the other ingredients were added to the caster sugar.

Add a dash of fresh lemon juice, to taste.  I found the lemon juice helpful in cutting back the sweetness a bit.

This is the ice cream base. Look at all the delicious orange flecks in there!

Using an electric mixer, beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Then, very gently, fold the whipped cream into the orange mixture, until well incorporated.  The whipped cream gives the ice cream a smooth, velvety texture and rich flavor.

Place the orange tea ice cream in a plastic food storage container with a cover and freeze for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the ice cream is half-frozen.

Don't worry if there are a few little bits of whipped cream floating around after you fold it in and put the mixture into a container...

It will all be blended away by the food processor in the next step!

Remove the ice cream from the freezer and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

This is some of the ice cream after the first freeze. I like to break it up with a spoon as I scoop it into the food processor to be blended smooth.

Transfer ice cream back to the plastic container and allow the mixture to freeze completely.  (I have always left it in the freezer overnight.)

When you are ready to serve, allow the ice cream to thaw for a few minutes at room temperature before scooping it out into serving dishes.

Finished photos of the ice cream will be up tomorrow when it’s out of the freezer!

This is a shot of the finished ice cream as we were scooping it out for a taste!

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