Matcha, chocolate, yogurt

This is the final dessert I served on a menu, the brief moment where it's okay to showcase a few bites of something a little denser and sweeter. I chose a freshly-made matcha (green tea) ice cream, freshly-churned with a luxuriously smooth texture, over a crunchy chocolate cookie crumble and some sweetened Greek yogurt. I didn't really intend for the two desserts to highlight alternative preparations of Greek yogurt (the foam in the preceding granita, and the gel here), but it worked out that way.

Prepare the chocolate cookie crumble:

This is a recipe originally from Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in NYC. It's basically a giant cookie broken into crumbles, and is a great crunchy counterpart to the ice cream and yogurt in this dish, or any dessert. It stores well in a dark dry place so you can make this ahead of time and reserve until needed.


Makes 4 cups.

3/4 cups butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

40g Tcho 53% milk chocolate


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Soften the butter at room temperature, or use a microwave to speed things up.
  3. Whisk together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and salt until fluffy (or use a stand mixer, if you have one).
  4. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Whisk into the butter mixture.
  6. Spread the dough in a thin even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let cool.
  7. Once cooled, break into a pieces with a food processor or your hands.
  8. Chop the Tcho chocolate into fine pieces and combine with the cookie crumble. Set aside.

Prepare the ice cream base:

Matcha is Japanese tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder, and is the traditional center of the Japanese tea ceremony. It also makes a fantastic ice cream. Matcha comes in many (very expensive) grades, ranging from super-premium "ceremonial" grade to the more reasonable "culinary" grade. If you're preparing matcha for drinking, get the best grade you can afford; for ice cream, culinary grade will serve us just fine.

The secret ingredient of this ice cream is locust bean gum, a hydrocolloid that slows and reduces ice crystal formation in frozen products, making the mouthfeel more smooth.

Ice cream base needs to be chilled thoroughly before churning; I made this a day in advance and chilled it overnight.


Makes 4 cups.

15g matcha powder

225g milk

470g heavy whipping cream

155g sugar

2 eggs

2g locust bean gum (0.3% cream+milk)


  1. Add the milk to a wide-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Gradually sieve in the matcha powder and combine well.
  2. Sieve in the locust bean gum, combine well. Add the cream and bring to at least 180F for 3 minutes to hydrate the gum.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together, and pour into the mixture. Cook another 3 minutes.
  4. Strain through a chinois and chill thoroughly before churning.

Prepare the yogurt gel:

This is another Eleven Madison Park recipe. From a technical standpoint it's kind of like a Greek yogurt fluid gel, in that an agar gel is set and blended into the final product for a silky smooth texture. You can make this ahead of time and reserve until needed.


Makes 2 cups.

40g water

95g sugar

3.5g agar powder

166g Greek yogurt + extra as needed


  1. Combine the water, sugar, and agar in a small pot. Bring just to a boil over medium heat, whisking well to disperse dry ingredients.
  2. Strain mixture into a baking dish or bowl and chill in the refrigerator until set into a firm gel, about 1 hour.
  3. When firm, cut out the gel and combine with the 166g Greek yogurt and blend thoroughly until very smooth.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and add in additional Greek yogurt until you reach a sweetness balance and texture that you like - I eyeballed about 3 tablespoons. Set aside.

For the dish:

The challenge in plating this dish is making a quenelle of the ice cream, the distinctive teardrop shape that is a constant in fine-dining desserts and Instagram food posts everywhere. In theory, it's easy to make - smooth out softened ice cream, press outwards with a warmed spoon and roll back towards you. In practice, I find it insanely difficult to do properly and it's a small miracle I got even somewhat acceptable results for plating this dish. Check out this video for detailed instructions on how to make a quenelle.

The ice cream is topped with a "crystallized mint leaf", yet another trick I saw from Daniel Humm. Mint leaves are microwaved with a tiny bit of oil to dehydrate them, and dusted with sugar. It makes for a cute garnish.


For 4 servings.

Ice cream base, from above

Chocolate cookie crumble, from above

Yogurt gel, from above

Mint leaves



Ice cream maker


  1. One day in advance, freeze your ice cream maker canister (if applicable).
  2. Chill your serving plates in the freezer ahead of time.
  3. Prepare the crystallized mint: tightly wrap a plate in plastic wrap, lightly brush with rice bran oil, add the mint leaves, and wrap in more plastic wrap. Press out air bubbles and microwave for a minute to a minute and a half until dried. Dust with sugar and set aside.
  4. Several hours before serving, churn the ice cream base in your maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a container in the freezer and monitor texture; transfer to the fridge if getting too hard. Mine was in the freezer for about three hours before serving, and needed microwaving for ten seconds at service to get a proper texture.
  5. When ready to serve: place a spoonful of the yogurt gel on a serving plate. Smush with a palette knife across the plate. Add a generous spoonful of the cookie crumble, and make a well for the ice cream. Place a quenelle of the ice cream on top, and top with a crystallized mint leaf. Serve immediately.
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