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Teatime Treat for Summer

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My sister in law has been experimenting with making ice cream, and our family has been the lucky tasting panel. I am a big fan of Earl Gray tea and London Fog drinks - Earl Gray with cream, vanilla and honey- so when I saw a recipe for London Fog ice cream in Taste of Home Magazine, I passed it on to her right away. In a few days I had the most fragrant, creamy tea-spiked confection in my freezer speckled with beautiful little bits of real vanilla. When I tasted it, I imagined how good it would be served with a little tea cookie (or "biscuit" as they would say in London) to add some more sweetness.

So, on my last trip to the big grocery store (after two months of quarantine shopping at our small-town grocery store), I picked up a package of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies for a little experiment.  I'm not sure if it's the fancy packaging, or the fact that mostly grandmas eat Pepperidge Farm cookies, but they have such a special occasion feel to them, don't they? I've seen a few recipes using the Chessman for banana pudding, which sounds amazing too. They taste just like the Danish butter cookies you get in those round blue tins at Christmas time.

Since it's summer, I started envisioning a fun tea-party kind of way to combine the London Fog ice cream with the cookies, and I decided on a little sandwich. How cute would these be served with an iced version of Earl Gray, some fruit and finger sandwiches for tea on the patio under the umbrella?! Or maybe just for sneaking out of the freezer a couple of times a day when nobody's watching without too much guilt, because they're really small.

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You'll find the recipe for the ice cream below, or get a talented SIL to make it for you. To assemble, soften the ice cream a little at room temp (or bring it out of the freezer before fully set), spoon about 2 tablespoons onto one cookie, top with another and give a gentle press. Use an offset spatula to scrape the sides flush and place in an airtight container lined with parchment paper. Refreeze for at least 30 min or until firm.

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups whole milk

2cups half-and-half cream

6 Earl Grey tea bags

1 vanilla bean

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened

condensed milk

1/4 tsp. salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk and cream to 175°. Remove from heat; add tea bags. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape seeds from the center into pan; add bean. Cover and steep 1 hour. Discard tea bags. (I'd suggest steeping for half the time for a more subtle flavor)

    2. Reheat the cream mixture just a boil; stir in sweetened condensed milk and salt until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and a thermometer reads at least 160°stirring constantly. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat immediately.

    3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl; place bowl in a pan of ice water. Stir gently and occasionally until cool, about 5 minutes. Press plastic wrap onto surface of the custard. Refrigerate custard several hours or overnight.

    4. Fill cylinder of the ice cream maker no more than two-thirds full; freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. (Refrigerate any remaining mixture until ready to freeze.)

    5. Transfer the ice cream to freezer containers, allowing some headspace for expansion. Freeze ice cream until firm, 2-4 hours.

 

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