A good Chocolate Ice Cream recipe is one that should stay with you during your life time. Like this one. It would be unfair to claim that this it the best Chocolate Ice Cream recipe around; for the truth is that there are plenty of good ones out there. But it may be the only custard-based one that does not need a thermometer to make. Pasteurisation is obligatory when one makes custard-based ice creams, as the egg yolks used in the recipe should never be eaten raw.
If you look around at the ice cream recipes on Biterkin website, you will see that custard-based ice creams are the rule. It doesn’t matter if it is two egg yolks or five, for the reason they are used is that egg yolks are easily available. And in ice creams, they act as stabilisers and emulsifiers, making for smooth and fluffy ice cream, without the use of specialist ingredients, like the ones used in store-bought ice cream.
But on to the subject: this Chocolate Ice Cream. It has a creamy, velvety texture and a mild chocolate flavour. The ingredients are perfectly measured and yield an ice cream mix that has a light viscosity and reaches its fullest volume when churned. Full volume expanding means a lighter, airier ice cream which does not get icy during storage and remains creamy in the freezer.
About the use of thermometers in ice cream recipes
– and why you will NOT need one here
In custard-based ice cream recipes, we use thermometers to ensure that the custard has been cooked. While it is advisable to purchase a thermometer for future use, it is only natural that you may not have one at home.
So in this recipe we use the laws of physics to guarantee that the egg yolks are properly cooked.
The method is simple:
(1) we have the dairy, brought to a full boil, which is 100º C ( 212º F ).
(2) we have the egg yolks, cold from the fridge, which is around 4ºC ( 39º F ).
By combining the right amount of boiling hot dairy (1) with the right amount of fridge-cold egg yolks (2) and returning it to the stove for 15 seconds, we have a perfectly cooked custard.
Please note that this is as accurate as a method without a thermometer can be. Should you have a thermometer, it is always best to use this to check the temperature.
+ Heatwave troubleshooting:
Note that during a heatwave your fridge’s ability to properly chill, may not be sufficient to bring food to 4ºC . So the temperature of the eggs might be higher than 4ºC , in which case the balance of the above recipe is lost. Do not worry, though, take extra care to chill the eggs and milk by placing them in the coldest spot of the fridge. And even if this doesn’t work, the only problem you will encounter, will be some overcooked eggs after straining.
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Chocolate Ice Cream recipe
When making Chocolate Ice Cream, take care to choose a good-flavoured chocolate. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, but it has to be good enough to devour on its own. It is totally a matter of personal preferences, so choose according to your taste.
As you have read above, you do not have to worry about eating raw eggs in this recipe. Just do your best and whisk vigorously, so that you avoid scrambling the eggs when you add the boiling hot dairy.
Special Equipment needed:
Ice Cream Machine
Thermometer, if available. If using a thermometer, check the temperature halfway on step 1, when you have added the milk and the egg yolks back into the saucepan. It should reach 80º C (176ºF) and stay there for 10 seconds, before pouring it back to the bowl and chilling it.
- Freeze your ice cream machine’s Removable Freezer Bowl at least 24 hours before the time you plan to churn the ice cream.
- Make the Ice Cream Mix 12 hours before the time you plan to churn the ice cream.
- Let the freshly churned ice cream sit in the freezer for 3-4 hours after churning, before you serve it
This batch is for an ice cream maker of 1.5 liter/quart capacity.
- 400ml + 50 ml ›total 450 ml‹ fresh whole milk, cold ( about 13.5 fl.oz. + 1.7 fl.oz. ›total 15.2 fl.oz.‹; total 450 gr )
- 150 gr demerara sugar ( or regular white sugar, see footnotes ) ( about 5.3 ounces; 2/3 cup )
- 15 gr cocoa powder ( about 0.5 ounces; 2 Tbs. )
- pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks, Large, cold from the fridge ( about 70 gr, 2.5 ounces )
- 120 gr bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, around 53% cocoa solids, chopped ( 4.2 ounces )
- 300 ml heavy cream ( about 10.10 fl.o. ; 300 gr )
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Step 1 – Prepare the Ice Cream Mix
Put the egg yolks in a large bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Pour in the 50 ml (1.7 fl.oz.) cold milk, whisk and put in the fridge, keeping the whisk in the bowl.
In a medium saucepan, put the 400 ml (13.5 gl.oz.) milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves.
Increase the heat to high. When it starts bubbling up, quickly remove the egg yolks from the fridge. When the milk comes to a full boil, start stirring continuously and count 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, and immediately pour it in a steady stream into the egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other. Without hesitating, return everything to the saucepan and back to the heat and keep stirring it constantly with a silicone spatula for 20 seconds. Now pour everything back to the large bowl. Add the chopped chocolate and stir well until melted.
Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
Step 2 – Cool the Ice Cream Mix
Place in an ice bath and let cool completely. Stirring always helps it cool down faster.
How to prepare an ice bath
You will need a large bowl, larger than the bowl with the prepared ice cream base. Put in some ice cubes and cold water. Carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream base in it. Pour more cold water from the sides, till it reaches the ice cream base in the inner bowl in height. Take extra care not to spill any water into the ice cream base.
Alternatively, first nest the bowl with the ice cream base into the empty larger bowl. Fill the sides with ice cubes and cold water, taking care not to let any water spill into the bowl with the ice cream base. This is my preferred method, as sitting directly on the bottom of the bowl, rather than sitting on ice cubes, is more stable.
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When the ice cream mix has cooled, put a mesh strainer over a container and pour it through the mesh strainer into the container.
Add the vanilla extract and stir well. Cover with a lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight to cool.
In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:
If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and churn the ice cream immediately, you can put the ice cream in a sealable bag, place it in a large container, fully cover it with ice and let it chill for a few hours ( it may take up to 3 hours to properly cool ).
The downside of this method is that you will need lots of ice. And you will definitely need a thermometer to check if the temperature has reached the desired 4º C ( about 39º F ).
Step 3 – Churn the Ice Cream
Prepare the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Give the ice cream mix a stir. With the machine running, pour the chilled ice cream base through the canister and into the ice cream machine. Leave to churn until nice and fluffy.
Remove the machine from the container and place the container, covered with a lid, into the freezer. Leave for 3-4 hours for the ice cream to set properly, before serving or removing to another container.
Storing the Ice Cream
This ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term.
To soften it before serving, remove from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator for half an hour.
It is at its best for one week in the freezer. After this, its texture starts to deteriorate. Discard after one month.
Demerara sugar is a variety of raw cane sugar and gives depth of flavour. You may use any kind of raw cane sugar you like, as long as it its light brown in colour.
Regular white sugar works well too, although it doesn’t help in building flavour.