hojicha (ほうじ茶) gelato


i have a special place in my heart (or rather stomach) for tea-flavoured gelatos. it is the perfect combination — imagine the serenity of tea in a japanese afternoon sweets house combined with the happy satisfaction of licking gelato in front of the trevi fountain on a summer evening. when i’m eating it, i’m half lulled into thinking that it’s really something holistically healing.  with my daily dose of tea flavoured ice cream, i can take on the world!

matcha ice cream has become so pervasive these days that it’s really like vanilla in my book.  for something special enough to justify lugging out my 30lb gelato machine (i.e. something you can’t find in stores), i like to raid my tea cupboard and concoct my own flavors.  my current favorite is hojicha (a roasted green tea with a slightly nutty caramel taste), though earl grey is quite good, so is jasmine, or english breakfast. . . oh my!

Hojicha Gelato
(makes ~3 pints)
(nb. hojicha is lower in caffeine than green tea, and is suitable for children or the elderly.  you can eat it before bed too)

Hojicha ¼ cup of loose leaves, ground into powder using a spice grinder.  You can buy hojicha in most asian supermarkets and definitely in a Japanese grocery store
Egg yolks 6
Heavy Cream 1 cup
Whole Milk 3 cups
Sugar ¾ cup
Salt A small pinch
  1. Heat cream, milk and half of the sugar in a sauce pan.  Bring it to a boil but watch the pot carefully as it will easily boil over.
  2. Whip together egg yolks and remaining sugar until it reaches the ribbon stage (the yolks will have tripled in volume).
  3. With the mixer on low speed, pour the heated milk mixture into the yolks.  Continue to mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the entire mixture back into the sauce and allow the liquid to thicken.  Continue to whisk while you are heating it. Stop when the liquid is just about to boil.  Do not let it reach a boil.
  5. Take the sauce pan off the heat.  Add the hojicha powder, salt and mix until evenly combined.
  6. Allow the gelato base to cool to room temperature.
  7. Then, pour it into an gelato / ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  [Note:  I didn’t pour the liquid over a sieve, but you can certainly do so to get a yet smoother gelato. I kinda like the larger specks of hojicha.]
  8. The resulting gelato will be quite soft.  It should rest in the freezer for at least 1-2 hours before eating.

3 responses to “hojicha (ほうじ茶) gelato

  1. I wish I could taste this fresh!

  2. I love Matcha ice cream. I wish I could try your Hojicha gelato. It looks very interesting.

    • hi! i’m addicted to matcha as well but i kinda like hojicha more now. i don’t know if you live near mitsuwa in nj but they sometimes have hojicha as well there.

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