Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ice cream, you scream

As I'm writing this, it is pouring rain outside. The wind is howling and I can see the trees from my window swinging back and forth like green giants caught in a storm, trying to find their balance by opening their huge, leafy arms wide open.

As I'm writing this, I'm eating ice cream. It is not the typical thing one would eat in such a weather but I have always been a stubborn person. I'm still resisting the idea that it is officially autumn.

I'm in an ice cream-making mode for quite some time now and I'm not planning to stop. Not in the foreseeable future. Not unless S gets sick of testing my icy experiments or I get sick of craving them—neither will be happening any time soon, I can assure you. So be warned; you might see some out of season ice cream recipes here in the following months. I hope you're game.

I have always been crazy for chocolate ice cream but I've been reluctant to make it myself for a very long time. I thought that it couldn't possibly be as good as the ones from my favorite ice cream shops so why bother. Boy, was I wrong.

When my first chocolate ice cream came out of the freezer, I couldn't believe I was the one that had made it. It was intensely chocolatey with a creamy texture that made me scream with joy. I had of course David Lebovitz, the ice cream genius, and his "Perfect Scoop", my ice cream bible, to thank for its success.

There's really no need to be intimidated by the idea of making ice cream. It's rather simple once you get the hang of it. Making the custard is perhaps the most tricky part, making sure your eggs don't separate or curdle, but apart from that, everything else is a piece of cake.

Yes, you'll probably need an ice cream maker to achieve a smooth texture and the right consistency, but I have tried it the old-fashioned way too and it was still pretty good.

My mom was visiting last month from Greece and I made this ice cream for her. My mom doesn't like ice cream. In fact, my mom hates ice cream; particularly chocolate ice cream. When she tasted this one though, she asked for a second scoop, and the next day she went snooping in the freezer to eat some more.
Man, it felt good to finally make an ice cream lover out of her.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

It is very important that you use a chocolate whose flavor you enjoy because that's how your ice cream will taste. Make sure that it's a good quality chocolate as well.

I have made this ice cream with 70% as well as with 55% chocolate and it was equally flavorsome. As expected, if you use 70% chocolate, your ice cream will have a more bitter chocolate taste.

After churning the ice cream, you can add some chopped chocolate [if I write the word chocolate one more time I will scream] in order to give it a more intense chocolate [insert scream here] flavor.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, don't fret. Below, I'm including instructions on how to make the ice cream without it.

Yield: about 1 liter of ice cream

470 ml cream, full fat
30 g (3 heaped Tbsp) cocoa powder, Dutch processed
140 g dark 55% chocolate, chopped
240 ml whole milk
160 g sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract

Special equipment: fine sieve, ice cream maker (optional yet preferable), instant-read thermometer (optional)

In a medium-sized saucepan, add half of the cream and all of the cocoa powder. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until the cocoa powder has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking continuously.
Take the saucepan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate has melted into the cream and you have a smooth mixture.
Add the remaining half of the cream and stir with a rubber spatula. Empty the mixture into a large bowl, making sure you scrape every last drop of the mixture out of the saucepan. Set a fine sieve over the bowl.

Using the same saucepan, add the milk, sugar and salt and warm over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. The milk must get warm, not hot.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the four egg yolks. Very slowly, pour the warm milk over the egg yolks, whisking quickly and continuously. When you have poured all of the milk, return mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula. Stir the mixture until it thickens and coats the spatula, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 76 degrees Celsius.
Pour the custard through the fine sieve and into the bowl containing the cream-chocolate mixture. Stir well with a spatula until well blended and add the vanilla extract. Stir well.

Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and a little water, and place the bowl with the ice cream mixture on top. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula in order to cool it down. Once cool, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
Then whisk the mixture and pour it into your ice cream maker. Continue, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Alternatively, if you don't have an ice cream maker, empty the chilled ice cream mixture into a container suitable for the freezer. Put mixture in the freezer, take it out after 40 minutes and whisk it very well. You can also beat it with a spatula vigorously (or you can use a blender, or even a stick blender).
Continue doing the same thing every half hour, until it's too thick and frozen to beat or whisk. The whole process will take about two and a half hours.


  1. I often feel like eating ice cream when it is cold - less of a shock for my body, I say, but probably it is just an excuse. I have very high standards for ice cream quality so most of the stuff I find outside Italy is not something I can eat. This looks really good though, and I may even try it without the ice cream machine..

  2. I don't have an ice cream maker (note to self--quit putting it off and get one!) so I'm grateful for your notes for those of us without. Glad you made your mom a convert to the joy of eating really good chocolate ice cream.

  3. I, too, just posted a chocolate ice cream recipe using New Mexico chile peppers from Hatch, NM so I am so happy to see your beautifully photographed images that would convert any ice cream hater to an ice cream lover. My ice cream maker is much used and is one of my best kitchen purchases.

  4. MMmm your ice cream looks so smooth and perfect! Glad you turned your mom around.

  5. What lovely looking ice cream and I can't imagine anything better to stave off the whipping winds outside! :) And to convert your mum too-what a treat! :)

  6. Your ice-cream looks like the "real deal" and I guarantee you once I make some (I am like your mom in that respect) I will check your recipe out for a guide, it sounds just perfect!!

  7. lacaffettierarosa — I'm glad I'm not alone in the "eating ice cream when it's cold" thing :)

    nancy — it's definitely worth having an ice cream maker. I'm glad too!

    Teresa — chocolate ice cream with chillies...that sounds great!

    Anna. Lorraine — thanks!

    tasteofbeirut — I hope you do, you'll not be disappointed!

  8. Magda, Glad to hear you converted your mom! Your ice cream looks so wonderful. You are so good at rendering the beauty of food in photography. Always a pleasure to visit your site!

  9. I too am resisting the transition from autumn. Chocolate ice cream sounds like the perfect remedy. It looks wonderful.

  10. It is known that chillies goes fantasticly well.Famous south american sauce Mole is teh ebst proof of that:) Great icecream:)Rainy day or I come;)

  11. your bloggy blog is sugar, spice and everything nice!
    many compliments your way for all the overt deliciousness compact into your page!

    merci! x

  12. Just back from gelato heaven (Roma) this recipe is just what I needed! Thanks!

  13. Oh my word. Am going to have to hide this link from The Hungry One- otherwise there will be scads of suggestive post it notes on the fridge for weeks until I make it for him. Add some cherries and he would be in pure heaven.

  14. Hmm... Can i request Rum and Raisin ice cream recipe pleaseee? I've been thinking of making a mean mean rum and raisin ice cream...

  15. Yumm...looks so good. I can never get enough icecream! I will crave it all the way through winter, and I don't hesitate to indulge that craving! :)

  16. My mouth is watering from looking at those pictures!!!

  17. we are often told in recipes that the best chocolate to use is 70%, but i've realised over the years that this is NOT the best idea when making something for greek people to enjoy - i love bitter choclate, but not so my family; acquired taste, i think

    (ps: has that wind stopped howling?!)

  18. You are killing me Magda because this summer I only ate ice cream once. It's been years that I am postponing to buy an ice cream maker as I know that I will be making ice cream every day :)

  19. Don't stop with the ice-cream! DON't! :)

    Love the food, and your writing as always!

  20. Ice cream just isn't ice cream if it is not chocolate. Then again, I am a chocaholic...I would kill for a spoonful of yours right now.