Rooibos and honey ice cream

Redbush tea

After some elegant shipping arrangements the ice cream maker so kindly procured for me by the triple motion crew (see last post for detailed thanks) has finally made it to South Africa. Yippee!

However, in order to get it here within my luggage allowance I had to co-opt some help in the form of my good friend and fellow Antarctic traveller, Brian. What better way to thank him for his efforts than to make a batch of ice cream.

The original idea was to go some place in the mountains to do this but the English weather seemed to follow us across continents and the day we planned to crank there were some serious flash floods. As this was not such a good time to be up in the hills we re-located to the stoop (and even that was pretty wet).

I decided that perhapse I should try and develop some local flavours and so went for Rooibos and honey. This is a fairly common and well loved combo out here and although personaly I don’t much like it as a hot beverage, I thought it could have a shot as working well as an ice cream.

The recipe was the South African adjusted Russell mix (to account for the different fat content of the cream) and is scaled for a half-gallon freezer.

  • 3  US cups cream (32% fat)
  • 2 small eggs
  • 0.5 US cups sugar
  • 0.5 US cups honey
  • 150 ml very strong Rooibos tea
  • Top up to final volume with full cream milk

The decision to go for half sugar half honey was made becuase the tea flavour is quite delicate and I thought if it was all honey it might be a bit overpowering. I think the final balance of flavours was ok but I suppose the only way to really know would be to make a batch with all honey and compare. Maybe next time!

I am also not convinced that I used the most effective method of imparting tea flavour. Big D suggested that I try making a fine powder as in green tea ice cream but when I tried this in my blender it did not work very well. In the end I pummelled 6 teabags worth of leaves with the pestle and mortar and made a sludgy Rooibos espresso which I then sieved into the ice cream mix through a coffee filter.

pounding the rooibos

Then it was out on the damp stoop and on with the cranking……

Brian seemed suitably impressed with the assembled contraption which he had helped to lug half way around the world.


Unfortunately at this point I made a bit of an error (well actually it was totally disastrous) by taking off the lid to check the paddles were turning properly. Even though I was pretty careful some salt got into the mix which meant that the first batch was a right off.

Thankfully I learned my lesson and the second batch did not suffer the same fate.

the moment of truth

The final result was a pretty unusual flavour. I was not sure when I first tasted it but after a few spoon fulls it grew on me.

a bit unsure to start with

It was fairly rich because of all the heavy cream and I think it would benefit from being a bit lighter. Possibly less cream and maybe some citrus too. I suppose it would depend on what you want to serve it with/after. In the end we decided it was best left nude…

best with just a spoon

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6 Responses

  1. Aunt Nancy* says:

    Wonderful! So glad that the ice cream freezer made it to South Africa and that you are using it.

  2. Dr Big D says:

    I’m so proud. Especially that your pushing the boundaries of icecream flavour.

    I’ve made the same mistake of opening the can during cranking and getting salt in the mix – I totally ruined a batch of choc-orange gelato that way – which is especially annoying because making the gelato mixture is pretty time consuming. It must have been a big anti-climax when the first batch turned salty so massive respect for cracking on and making a second batch.

  3. Dr Big D says:

    With regards to the honey, its interesting to note that in terms of sugar content (which is essentially what you want it for) it isn’t and exact volume for volume (or weight for weight) substitute for sugar. I worked out the following on my scales tonight (and checked it on afterwards):

    1 cup caster sugar (236ml) = 220g (approx)
    1 cup coarse granulated sugar (e.g. demerara) = 200g

    1 cup of honey (or at least the honey I have in my cupboard) weighs 336g.
    However since this honey claims it contains 84g of sugar per 100g honey, 1 cup of honey = 282g sugar

    In the case of icecreams without any fruit in them I always add a little extra sugar anyway so I reckon the extra 62g of sugar included in your recipe would be entirely appropriate (its equivalent to adding an extra 1/3 cup of granulated sugar to the standard “Gerard” Russell recipe)

    If you wanted to make it exactly as per the Gerard formula put 3.5 tbsp less honey in the mix.

  4. Peter Gerard says:

    Actually the traditional Russell approach is to reduce the sugar a bit for fruit ice creams. We don’t normally add extra sugar for vanilla ice cream.

    Anyway, sounds delicious, Jen!

  5. Jen Lee says:

    Although the Rooibos and honey is the only recipe that has made it onto the blog, the ice-cream maker has already achieved local celebrity status in Jonkershoek with batches of chocolate gelato being high on the lists of favourites. There is something about cranking that seems to bring people together 🙂

  6. Jen Lee says:

    Thanks for the tips.

    Unfortunately measuring anything to gram accuracy is a bit beyond me at the moment (I am still working with one of those measuring cones). Not ideal I know but makes ‘the moment of truth’ so much more exciting.

    However, it would be interesting to find out how variable the sugar content of honey is across regions and seasons. Maybe I will have to do some research…

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