It seems like I just finished my first year of graduate school, but suddenly summer is here in less than a week. After a hectic yet encouraging spring semester, I have returned to a somewhat relaxed life [for now]. With my new freedom and with Dave's cast removal, we can finally get back to cooking regular meals at home and blogging about it. I vaguely remember the last time I made a blog post, way back in January. I actually had to dust off my camera today before I could begin taking photos. Tsk tsk. While I am not collaborating with Harlequin this year, I still hope to get back into the swing of weekly or bimonthly posts throughout the summer.
As soon as the sun came out a couple weeks ago, I felt the urge to make ice cream. Because I became lactose intolerant in the last year, my dairy consumption has sadly been limited. Even so, I cannot resist ice cream, particularly homemade custard ice cream. And though I love making unusual ice cream flavors, I really wanted to pull off a basic chocolate ice cream.
A double boiler is not essential for this recipe. I don't have one, so I usually use a pot that just fits inside a larger pot. A metal bowl can also be used to sit atop a saucepan.
Patience is key when making custard. The mixture must cook on low and be stirred frequently to prevent the egg from cooking unevenly.
Ideally, this recipe takes 5 days to make: 2 days to allow the custard to ripen in the fridge, and 3 days to further ripen in the freezer. I read up on why homemade ice cream should be ripened, and I learned that as it sits, the ice cream's texture becomes smoother. Commercial ice cream makers get around this wait time by adding stabilizing emulsifiers like soy lecithin. Because I want the smoothest ice cream possible but without additives, I find that the wait is necessary. If the wait time is undesirable, however, I included directions for an overnight option which result in an equally tasty, but less smooth ice cream.
The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream
adapted from Bon Appetit
makes 1 quart
7oz dark chocolate (around 72% cacao), chopped
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 egg yolks
13 Tbsp sugar, divided
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Using a double boiler (or a metal bowl or small saucepan that sits over the larger saucepan) with an inch of barely simmering water, melt the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool slightly.
Mix together milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until just boiling. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a whisk or an electric beater, whip egg yolks and 7 tablespoons of the sugar in a small bowl until slightly thickened, very shiny, and ribbons are easily formed; about 2 minutes.
While constantly whisking, add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. Pour back into the saucepan. Whisk in the melted chocolate and return to burner.
Stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, heat egg mixture on low until it is slightly thickened and easily coats the back of a spoon; 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set over a bowl of cold water. Cool just to room temperature.
While the custard is cooling, heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan on medium-high. Stir just until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, occasionally swirling the pan but not stirring, until mixture becomes a honey amber color; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream until completely combined. Stir into custard. Add salt and vanilla extract to custard.
Strain the custard into a quart sized jar or other container.
For the smoothest ice cream ever: Let custard ripen in refrigerator for 2 days. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Gently fold ice cream into a quart-sized, freezable container (I use a yogurt container). Press either plastic wrap or parchment paper on the top of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn. Let further ripen in freezer for 3 more days. Enjoy!
For a less smooth, quicker ice cream: Let custard cool in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Gently fold ice cream into a quart-sized, freezable container. Press either plastic wrap or parchment paper on the top of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn. Let chill in freezer at least overnight before serving.