As a child I took an immediate disliking to any of my fellow young’uns who, given the choice, opted for vanilla over chocolate ice cream. Madness, I thought to myself. Who in their right mind would choose dull, boring old vanilla over devilish chocolate! It was almost as dubious as that odd, insipid girl with droopy pig tails who disliked chocolate altogether.
Naturally I am now more evolved and admit there are occasions for vanilla: drenched in chocolate sauce, for instance, or piled atop apple pie. Nevertheless, rich chocolate ice cream remains my favorite, seconded by coffee or hazelnut.
If you want to make ice cream at home there’s no need to buy an electric churn that will clutter up your kitchen collecting dust for most of the year. The key to making creamy ice cream without the aid of a machine is a high proportion of cream to milk and an egg-rich custard. The result is dense, silky, and potent. And while it cannot be described as diet fare, my belief is that an indulgent treat should really taste indulgent. Like whole milk, full-fat yoghurt, or a wedge of good Normandy Camembert, a little goes a long way.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes about 1 pint
1 cup heavy (double) cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 medium eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
2 oz. 70% chocolate
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- Make an ice bath by putting some ice and cold water in a large bowl or pot and then placing a smaller bowl (big enough for your pint of custard) inside.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the cream into the inner bowl and place a strainer on top.
- In a medium saucepan heat the rest of the cream and the milk with the sugar and a pinch of salt. Heat slowly, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is beginning to bubble. Remove from the heat.
- In a bowl beat the eggs and then very slowly add the hot milk-cream mixture, whisking very rapidly so that the eggs don’t curdle.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over a medium-low heat until well thickened. At this point the custard should coat the back of a spoon and leave a clear path when you run a finger across the spoon.
- Remove from the heat and strain into the cold cream.
- Melt the chocolate and add it to the bowl along with the cocoa powder. Whisk everything together until smooth, pour into a shallow tub with a lid, and place in the freezer.
- After one hour give the mixture a vigorous stir and freeze again. If possible, give it a further stir after 30 minutes and again after another 30 minutes.
- You will need to take the ice cream out of the freezer 30 minutes before you want to eat it and allow it to soften a little.