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Apricot Earl Grey Ice Cream

1 cup dried apricots (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon apricot brandy or orange liqueur

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the apricots, 2 tablespoons of
the sugar and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat.
Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until the
apricots are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the apricots and any remaining liquid to a food processor
and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once
or twice. Set aside.

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the milk and tea leaves. Warm
over low heat until the milk is hot. Remove from the heat and let
steep for 5 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine-meshed strainer.

Return the milk to the saucepan and add the heavy cream, remaining
1/3 cup sugar and salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently
with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved and
the mixture is hot, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Gradually
whisk in one-third of the hot cream in a thin stream, then whisk
the mixture back into the remaining cream in the saucepan.

Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until the
custard lightly coats the back of the spoon, 5 to 7 minutes; do
not let boil.

Immediately remove from the heat and strain the custard into a
medium bowl. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water. Let
the custard cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Whisk
in the reserved apricot puree and the brandy until blended. Cover
and refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to
the manufacturer's instructions.


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