Shiso Mint Chip Ice Cream

I grew up on mint chip ice cream. For some reason, it was the only ice cream we would get whenever we went to Baskin Robbins, so it became a nostalgic flavor profile for me. That coupled with me eating a lot of thin mints as a kid. One random day when I was working out, I was craving mint chip ice cream. But I also wanted to do something with shiso, also called perilla, which is a Japanese herb quite similar to mint, but with earthier notes to it. So I figured, why not try making a mint chip ice cream, using shiso instead of mint? And that was how this recipe came about. I knew that a lot of creameries make mint chip ice cream by steeping fresh mint into cream for 20 hoursFor my first attempt at this recipe, I tried to steep my first batch of milk with the shiso leaves for 40 hours. And to secure the color, I blanched and shocked about 10 shiso leaves. The end result of batch #1? It tasted muddy. The chocolate brought out more clove-like notes from the shiso, and it tasted like I was licking somebody’s lawn. It’s funny to think how ingredients interact with one another, and how the bitterness of chocolate and shiso bring out some rather unpleasant qualities in one another. So needless to say, attempt #1 was a major fail. For the second attempt, I changed up some things. I lowered the amount of steeping time, I also added in some lemon/yuzu juice to the ice cream base, as the acid will break apart of the earthier flavor, and I lowered the amount of blanched shiso leaves used in the final product. The end result was SIGNIFICANTLY better. The shiso was pronounced but not bitter, and the chocolate did not play into that as much. The ice cream was a pleasant, albeit slightly herbaceous situation, and the chocolate added crunch and added the complexity and bitterness that the lesser-concentrated shiso ice cream base was lacking! And this recipe is 100% vegan to boot!

For the shiso ice cream base:
14oz soy milk
2oz neutral flavored oil
2oz shiso leaves
a pinch of salt

In a pot, heat up the soy milk with oil, shiso, and salt until the liquid is brought up to a simmer. Allow the milk to reduce by about 1/4 and then pour the milk into a container. Cover and store the milk in the refrigerator overnight. Allow the shiso to steep in the milk for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours. Pass the milk through a sieve, pressing the leaves against

For the simple syrup:
6oz granulated sugar
6oz soy milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
4 shiso leaves
2 tbsp lemon or yuzu juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, bring sugar, milk, cornstrach, and xanthan gum to a simmer and whisk on low heat until thickened enough to cling to the sides of your whisk. Blanch and shock the shiso leaves in hot water/ice. Transfer the milk syrup, shisso leaves, citrus juice, vanilla extract, and ice cream base into a blender and puree until completely smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove lumps. Either churn the ice cream base in an ice cream machine, or freeze the base solid, puree it in a food processor. While the ice cream is still soft, crack the chocolate into it before re-freezing the ice cream for at least another hour before attempting to serve, just to keep it optimally cold.

For the chocolate:
5oz dark chocolate chips
a pinch of salt

Over a double boiler, partially melt 3/4 of the chocolate down with salt. Once the chocolate is roughly half-melted, take the chocolate off heat and stir until the rest of it is melted in. Chop up the remainder of your chocolate and stir that into the melted chocolate, stirring until everything is fully combined. Pour the chocolate onto either parchment or acetate and spread into as thin of a layer as possible. Freeze the chocolate until solid, at least 10 minutes, and keep it cold for stirring into the ice cream with.

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