Matcha being finely powdered Japanese green tea, the stuff the Japanese tea ceremony is built upon.
Matcha is to regular, everyday green tea what Château d’Yquem is to Mogen David. It has a delicate flavor that really cannot be compared to anything otherwise tea-related. And, in its finer grades, it is ferociously expensive. Lipton’s it assuredly ain’t.
If you really want to experience matcha in all of its varieties and forms, you have to go to Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan. When I was there with Elder Daughter three years ago, we stayed at the legendary Hiiragiya Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn of the first water... and the room next door to ours was where Charlie Chaplin observed the Japanese tea ceremony while visiting Kyoto in the 1930’s.
It’s everywhere you turn in Kyoto, that matcha. Purveyors abound, and the powdery stuff finds its way into all manner of confections and beverages - even the ubiquitous Kit-Kat candy wafers. While we were there, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Matcha-flavored Kit Kat. Nummy num num!
It frustrated me for years that Häagen-Dasz made a green tea (matcha) ice cream, but never sold it in the States. That seems to have changed, which is a mixed blessing. The last thing I need is yet another irresistible ice cream flavor staring at me as I wander through the frozen food section of the local stupidmarket.
But I had a solution. I could make my own matcha-flavored ice cream... and I could control just how decadent to make it. That, Esteemed Readers, is exactly what I did a couple of days ago. You can do it too:
Elisson’s Matchless Matcha Ice Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
¾ cup sugar (or ~⅓ cup baking Splenda)
2 tbsp light corn syrup
3-4 tsp matcha
Place the cream, half-and-half, sugar (or baking Splenda) and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat; heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Add the matcha and whisk to blend well. Remove from the heat, strain to remove any matcha-clumps, and refrigerate until well chilled. Place into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Damn, I wish I had taken a picture of it. A beautiful pale green, a wonderful creamy texture, and a flavor that beat any green tea ice cream I’ve ever had outside of Japan - or in Japan, for that matter - like a redheaded stepchild. Oh well. There’s always next time.
If I could make glutinous rice cakes and fill ’em with this stuff, I’d have Matchless Matcha Mochi. But that’d be gilding the lily, neh?