Sweet and spice and everything nice, that’s what this ice cream is made of. Vanilla Chai Ice Cream is smooth, creamy and lightly spiced for a warm, cool treat that’s wonderful on it’s own but spectacular on top of a fall fruit pie. So easy to make!
Chai is so trendy these days….don’t ya think? It’s everywhere you turn and, really, I try to stay away from trendy recipes but I fell in love with the warm spices of chai long ago….accidentally and have never turned back. And it’s Oprah’s pick at Starbucks so how could you go wrong…right? I stumbled on a Chai Latte when trying to escape the stresses of my office cubicle. It was a very cold and rainy day. My umbrella was broken, it flipped inside out. I was soaked from head to toe and all I wanted was a sip of hot chocolate or coffee to thaw my numb bones.
I stopped in a local cafe that’s been closed for years now…it was called the Cuppa Cafe…I think. The place was cute and simple with a few fluffy couches that were pretty worn but still had some love to share. I would stop in on occasion to grab a healthy salad or wrap but this time, I needed something hot and steamy so I ordered a latte. Just a latte…nothing fancy. Nothing too over the top….I played on the safe side of life back then. I didn’t even drink spiked coffee back then. I paid, grabbed my cup and ran to the car with my upside down umbrella in hand. As I fumbled for my keys, I spilled my drink all down my arm staining my jacket. Blistering hot and smelling of sweet spice. What the heck?
I took one sip and was totally in love with this unknown beverage I was so wrongly gifted. I, definitely, had somebody else’s drink. And boy, were they going to be disappointed when they took a sip of my order. Sip after heavenly sip….I couldn’t quite figure out what it was I was drinking so I took it to the office and made my favorite co-workers help me identify it. Chai….Chai Latte, to be exact. It was unanimous. I, now, had a new favorite drink. It was warm, creamy and soothed my soul. I’m not even kidding….I know how corny it sounds but if you’ve ever had a Chai Latte…you know what I’m saying.
So, I decided to bring my favorite winter beverage into the searing summer heat in the form of ice cream. It’s quite simple to do, actually. I borrowed a trick from my coffee ice cream…and one that I used here in my Mint Chocolate Chip, too….steeping the flavor (in the form of tea bags) right into the cream. Instead of spicing up the cream with all the different spices, because that would just get a little spendy buying all those spices, I bought tea bags and threw them right into the cream. Then I finished up the ice cream base before churning…but you can use this no churn method if you don’t have an ice cream maker. So, cool and creamy but, yet, warm and dreamy. It’s the best thing ever.
Vanilla Chai Ice Cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 Black Chai tea bags
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- In a large saucepan, add the milk, cream and tea bags. Bring the mixture to a simmer over med-low heat and then turn the heat off. Let the mixture steep for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Remove the tea bags from the saucepan. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is slightly thickened and light in color. Slowly, add 1/4 cup of the milk mixture to the eggs while whisking constantly. Continue adding the milk to the egg mixture 1/4 cup at a time until all the ingredients are combined.
- Prepare and ice bath in a large bowl and place a medium bowl in the ice bath. Place a fine mesh stainer over the bowl.
- Transfer the cream mixture to a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard into the bowl and allow to cool.
- Refrigerate the custard until cold or overnight.
- Pour the custard into the freezer can of an electric ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. Transfer to an airtight storage container and freeze.