Friday, March 14, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream

Editorial Note: Ice cream is probably the most valuable food a home cook can make. In this case, valuable means that's it's absurdly easy, incredibly cheap, and many many times better than store-bought ice cream. Seriously, go buy an ice cream maker and use it. It'll pay for itself in, oh, about 10 gallons. Also buy a treadmill while you're out; you'll need this later.

The chocolate ice cream recipe probably has the fewest ingredients in the entire book, save Vanilla ice cream. What we've got here is some 61% chocolate, some milk, some heavy cream, a bunch of sugar, and a measuring cup full of yellow-orange blobs of fat.

Essentially, all you do is make some ganache and freeze it. Good write up, eh?

All right, here's some more details. I spent a little longer than I should have trying to chop up the chocolate that I bought. I made the mistake of buying about 1000 little pieces instead of a larger block, so that was lesson number one. Anyway, the chopped up chocolate goes into a bowl and waits patiently.

Meanwhile, combine the cream, milk, and sugar and bring it to a simmer. While that's happening, mix together a little more sugar and the egg yolks until it looks a little like partially thawed orange juice concentrate. Add a bit of the cream mixture to temper the eggs and then combine everything back into the pot and simmer for five to ten more minutes. Eventually the custard will thicken up a little. I believe the word, and thickness were looking for here is nape.

Divide the custard, adding about a 1/3 of it to the chocolate and the rest into a separate bowl. After a few minutes, the chocolate will be very soft and can be combined with the cream. Whisk it until it's smooth, and then combine with the other bowl. I'm not totally sure why you can't do it all at once, but if there's one thing I've learned about Sir Keller so far it's this: Seemingly unnecessary steps tend to be the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. So I followed his instructions.

I cooled the custard in an ice bath, put it into a bowl, and refrigerated it over night. This seems to be standard procedure for every ice cream I've ever made. Think of it as marinading your meat, only for dessert. The final step is to make the ice cream in your ice cream maker. It will finish with a consistency of soft serve ice cream, but a couple of hours in the freezer will take care of that.

Now that I've already declared that homemade ice cream is the best thing since homemade sliced bread, I guess I should tell you how it turned out. I made this to go with vanilla macaroons, but you can read about that disaster as soon as I write it up. Until then, let's just say there were no macaroons. The ice cream, on the other hand, was pretty fantastic. It was creamy, chocolatey, and frozen. There are probably only two improvements I would make. These are personal preferences only, and reflect nothing on the delicious recipe. First, I would use slightly darker chocolate, or maybe mix the 61% with some 72% or something along those lines. Second, and I would probably cut back on the fat for health reasons. Next time I'll use light cream instead of heavy cream just to try it out. It certainly doesn't lack creaminess with heavy cream, so I'd tone it down a bit just to see if it makes a noticeable (and unacceptable) difference.


rene martin said...

hi - i love your blog! may i just ask what kind of ice cream maker you use?

mike said...


I have an attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer that takes care of it for me. Check out this link for more info:
Ice Cream Maker