Hojicha (roasted green tea) ice cream is extremely nutty and aromatic. And because of that, the emulsified ice cream base is well-suited to carry all that flavor straight to your mouth. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy the warmth of summer. You can serve this on its own, or with whipped cream, either way it’ll make for a refined and semi-sweet dessert.
What is Hojicha tea (ほうじ茶)?
Do you like tea? Or are you in need for a new ice cream recipe?
Well, you’re in for a treat! For me this is an oldie but a goodie and one of my favorites not only because I love tea, but because it tastes delicious and has a healthy ingredient – hojicha tea!!
What we are learning today is hojicha ice cream is made with hojicha tea – roasted green tea.
In Japan, hojicha tea is often served with sweets or after a meal because it is a nice way to clean the palate.
This is another good way to get more healthy delicious tea into your routine.
It is super earthy and has a wonderful aromatic character. It’s flavor is robust enough that it can be used in sweets ranging from baked goods, to soft serve and ice cream.
Hojicha is quite low in caffeine, so you can drink or eat this at night without fear of being unable to sleep.
As a drink, it can even be consumed hot or cold!
Of course during summer I’m definitely drinking a lot of cold teas!
Whether you drink or eat hojicha, you’ll likely find it in loose leaf or tea bag form.
There’s also a powdered version, which if you’re lucky, can save you a step below but I haven’t come across it in the US.
So for today’s ice cream, we’ll be processing the hojicha leaves into powder first.
Hojicha Ice Cream （ほうじ茶アイス）
At a high level, we’re making a milk tea base that we’re sweetening with sugar. Then we’ll rapidly cool the mixture in cold cream before churning.
If you’re starting with loose leaves, you’ll need to make a decision–to make it into powder or leave whole. Tough call but it’s up to you.
I use my food processor to make powdered loose leaves. If you do this, you would want the processed leaves as fine as possible.
If you use the whole hojicha leaves, you can just steep and then strain them out.
In order to ensure complete extraction of flavor, you’ll need to steep the whole leaves a bit longer than if you were using the powder.
For this round, I wanted to try something different and leave the powdered bits in the final ice cream product.
Note that if you follow the same way I do and use powdered leaves, I would usually strain it with my nutmilk bag.
Today was just an exemption.
What happens on my ice cream if I don’t strain my powdered hojicha tea leaves?
So you may be wondering… how was it?
So you may be wondering how was my ice cream unstrained?
It adds a little texture, which can be good or bad, depending on your preferences.
Either way, whole leaves or ground, this is a refreshing ice cream that’s not overly sweet.
I use the same ratio of sugar to cream milk as I do in my other ice cream recipes.
If you’ve made one before, you’ll have an idea on how sweet I like my ice cream which not that sweet!
The good thing with making ice cream is that you can always taste it before you churn.
So while the base is still warm, if you find it’s not sweet enough, you can always add more sugar, but you can’t take it out!
Here’s how the powdered hojicha looked after processing and mixing into the base.
Some tips for this particular recipe (and making ice cream in general)-
- If you use whole leaves, make sure to press against your strainer to get all the flavor our after steeping.
- If you’re using powder (or you powderized your leaves), you won’t need to steep as long, maybe 10 minutes should be sufficient.
- If you notice clumping use a whisk or immersion blender to break them up. You could also use a regular blender too
- If you don’t have hojicha tea, you’re out of luck! there’s no substitute. Sad, I know… however, though this recipe would work with green, black, earl grey you’d be making a different ice cream!
- Whatever tea ice cream you make, just make sure to use a good quality tea. The cheap stuff tastes bitter and will affect the flavor.
- In order to cool your ice cream base quickly, set a temp proof bowl (i.e. metal) in a large ice water bath and stir occasionally.
- Another tip is to only heat up your milk mixture and keep the cream nice and cold. I used to cook both together, but found no difference in flavor or texture after leaving the cream cold and mixing in after the custard base has been finished.
Here’s a live replay of my last episode for Japanese Cooking Live Season 2- Summer 2018!
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Need an ice cream machine? Check out my review of the Breville Smart Scoop, which is one of my favorite kitchen appliances!
In case you’ve missed them, here are some of my other ice cream recipes!
- Matcha Ice Cream
- Kinako Ice Cream with Kuromitsu
- Strawberry Ice Cream with Vodka Infused Berries
- Vanilla Bean Ice cream with Bourbon
- Japanese Green Tea Ice Cream (egg yolk free!)
- Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream with Bourbon
What do you think? Have you tried to make any edible foods with hojicha yet? Let me know with a comment below!