Thursday, 10 March 2016

A chocolate ice cream to end the world



There comes a point in life when you think: that's it, I can do no better. I mean this in a positive sense, like finishing a marathon two minutes before a cardiac arrest, not in the negative sense as you glower at your spouse over another silent, sullen supper (or so my friends tell me). It is as such with my chocolate ice cream. How good? Trouser removing good. No, I don't really know what that means but somehow I believe it to be true.

The recipe is simple enough, make a chocolate custard and churn. The custard recipe is here, but I want this on its own page. If you've ever finished a bowl of Green & Blacks and thought: yeah, nice, but a bit sweet and not quite chocolatey enough (and who hasn't?) then this is for you.


The one thing I must insist on is that you use Valrhona cocoa powder. Please. No they don't sponsor me - I wish! They just make the finest cocoa powder. Do this one thing. You'll be a hero in your own household. Your children will do chores for you, imploring you to make more. You'll thank me one day.





Chocolate ice cream

Makes about 750ml
My quick way - needs a temperature probe, something more accurate than a sugar thermometer too. They are invaluable in the kitchen and much more use than a jam thermometer. This one is £6.  You can use to take the guess work out of meat roasting too. It's pretty much the only way to bake a beef wellington and retain your fingernails.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen...

In a jug, measure 250ml of full fat milk. To the jug add 130g caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Put this in a nice heavy pan on a medium burner, full heat. The amount of heat is important. Don't burn the milk. If you're electric, I have nothing for you.

While the sugary milk is heating, break four large egg yolks into the jug and give them a quick whisk. Keep the whites for something else. Now use your probe to check the temperature of the milk. It's probably around 65°C unless you are very cack handed with eggs. When the milk gets to between 72 - 75°C, pour the yolks in and whisk briskly. Now turn the heat down to half and stir with a wooden spoon. Within two minutes the custard should start to thicken to the classic 'coat the back of a spoon' condition. If it doesn't, call me and we'll talk it through. Whisk in 300ml of double cream. This lowers the heat and stops the yolks scrambling. If you suspect some scramble, sieve your mix before proceeding. 
Whisk in 80g of Valrhona cocoa powder and mix well.

Chill for several hours in the fridge.

Or you can do it the old fashioned (slow) way of creaming the eggs with the sugar then pouring in warm milk and heat - stir - heat - stir - heat - stir, until the custard thickens.

Either way, you should end up with a thick, cold, chocolate custard. Resist the urge for endless finger swipes. Churn it in your ice cream maker until set. Eat immediately for best effect or freeze for a couple of hours to firm up.

If you eat this from the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge for 30 minutes to appreciate it at best texture.


What to serve it with? I made up this candied orange tart precisely to partner it. Works well with crystallised nuts too. Or poached cherries.

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