Chocolate ice cream

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This recipe is from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop.

You will need an ice bath, so make sure you have a tray of ice handy for this use.

  • 2 cups (500 mL) heavy cream
  • 3 T (21 g) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
  • 5 oz (140 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat, then add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and place a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

[Ed. note: Here, you should probably prepare an ice bath in a bowl larger than the bowl holding the chocolate cream mixture. But do not yet place the chocolate cream mixture into the ice bath.]

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heat-proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the mixture through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

NOTES -- 2009-06-26


This time around, I used Lake Champlain cocoa powder, Berkeley Farms cream (which, unfortunately, had additives in it), and Guittard 72% bittersweet chocolate pastilles (for couverture). I love the Guittard pastilles, which required no chopping and melted beautifully into the hot cream. But next time, I'd use Valhrona cocoa powder (so dark, so intense) and either Clover organic cream or Organic Valley cream, neither of which have additives.


My custard heated quickly over medium heat and appeared to have curdled/scrambled. I was surprised that the stirring implement of choice was a spatula rather than a whisk, and that the recipe didn't require either lower heat and/or a double boiler set-up to make the custard. When the mixture started to get dangerously close to boiling over medium heat, I quickly lowered the heat, and was dismayed to see the coagulation/scrambling take place almost immediately. The mixture smelled eggy. (Granted, it was only milk and egg yolks.) It was only a few seconds longer before it thickened enough that I took it off the heat. It was like no custard I had ever made. It did not have the consistency of creme anglaise. I strained it, which helped which the texture, and once mixed with the chocolate cream, of course everything still smelled heavenly. But chocolate and cocoa are strong smells. The proof will be in the ice cream, which we will make tomorrow.


Opie made marshmallows while I was making the ice cream. Tomorrow we will toast almonds. And hopefully, we will enjoy some homemade rocky road ice cream very soon!