Matcha Green Tea Pecan Ice Cream

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream with PecansWhether spring, summer, or early autumn, the warmer seasons would not be as memorable if they did not include the occasional ice cream cone or sundae. While my lactose intolerant friends might strongly disagree, I believe that ice cream is a fundamental bonding tradition. By the way lactose intolerance does not exclude anyone from warm weather bonding over frozen treats, there is a world of beautiful dairy-free sorbets and other frozen treats such as My Award Winning Roasted Garlic Sorbet or a Faloodeh Cocktail.

Our story today begins with me acquiring a used ice cream maker off of the local classifieds for a ridiculously good price. Sorbet, gelato, ice cream, and frozen yogurt all require an ice cream maker for a proper texture, so getting your hands on one is the first step to unlocking personal frozen dessert freedom. Investing in an ice cream maker may seem like a large obstacle at first, but once you start making ice cream at home, the quality of ice cream made surpasses almost anything you can buy in the supermarket and even most ice cream stands.

While homemade ice cream may be a new concept, Ice cream and sorbets are hardly a new innovation. In the 13th century Arabs discovered that by adding salt to flavored waters and sugared creams and then freezing, slushes would be created instead of becoming frozen blocks of ice or cream. (McGee, 39). Even before the modern origins of ice cream, frozen desserts such as Faloodeh, iced vermicelli noodles flavored with rose water, honey, saffron, ect existed in the Persian empire dating back some 2,500 years(Marks).

The ice cream in today's recipe is based on a custard due to the percentage of egg yolk and the fat content of the cream. Ice cream can be made with less egg yolk, or even by omitting the yolks all together, however I would not recommend omitting the yolks. The egg yolks provide stability, a longer shelf-life, smoother texture(Falkowitz), and a richer mouth feel, which are all qualities that I believe make a great ice cream.

In addition to the egg yolks in this recipe the addition of honey serves a very interesting function. Honey is known as an invert sugar, this is a sugar composed of fructose and glucose with a viscous texture. Such invert sugars include honey, maple syrup, and corn syrup to name a few. Invert sugars have a lower freezing point and help with reducing ice crystals that may otherwise form in homemade ice cream. The result is a creamy smooth texture with a hint of honey, which of course is wonderful with green tea.

The green tea used in this ice cream recipe is a very special powdered green tea known as matcha. Matcha is a pulverized green tea from Japan, highly regarded for its use in the Japanese tea ceremonies. (Tsuji, 334) Matcha's intense flavor and powdered texture also makes it ideal for cooking applications including ice cream bases. Matcha may be somewhat difficult to find at the average super market, but Japanese supermarkets, specialty tea stores, and of course the internet should provide reasonable options.

Matcha Pecan

Matcha Green Tea Pecan Ice Cream

  • 2 c Heavy cream
  • 1 c Whole milk
  • 1/2 c Cultured buttermilk
  • 8 Egg yolks
  • 3/4 c Sugar
  • 1/4 c Honey
  • 2 T Matcha (powdered green tea, no substitutes will work)
  • 1/8 t Kosher salt
  • 1/2 c Crushed pecans
  • 1 Vanilla bean, scraped
Cooking Directions
  1. Separate 8 egg yolks from egg whites. Reserve the egg whites for another use.
  2. Scrape all the innards of the vanilla bean and set aside.
  3. Add about 1/4 c of sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until combined.
  4. Combine cream, whole milk, buttermilk, the remaining 1/2 c of sugar, honey, matcha, vanilla bean scrapings, and salt into a sauce pan.
  5. Bring the liquid mixture up to a simmer and shut off the heat. Whisk thoroughly with a clean whisk while the liquid is heating up.
  6. Temper the egg yolks with the warm liquid. This technique is done by slowly introducing hot liquid to egg yolks and quickly whisking. If the egg yolk is introduced too quickly the egg yolks will solidify and not incorporate. For more information Watch this Tempering Video.
  7. Once tempered, add the egg mixture back to the remaining liquid and turn the heat on medium high. The goal is to thicken up the mixture so that it coats the back of a spoon, cook it to far and it will curdle.
  8. Quickly transfer to the ice bath you previously set up, stir to cool down if necessary.
  9. Once completely cool add to your ice cream maker, follow the ice cream machines instructions.
  10. After pouring the liquid mixture add the pecans and let the ice cream maker work it's magic.
  11. Once solidified transfer to a container and store in the freezer over night, the next day this beautiful ice cream will be set and ready to enjoy.
Total Time: 1 Hour + Rest overnight
Citations and Further Readings:
  • Falkowitz, Max. "Do I Need to Use Eggs in Ice Cream (and How Many?)." Serious Eats. N.p., 2 Aug. 2013. Web. Path:
  • Marks, Gil. Encyclopedia of Jewish food. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
  • McGee, Harold. On food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen. Simon and Schuster, 2007.
  • Tsuji, Shizuo. Japanese cooking: a simple art. Kodansha International, 2006.


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