Monday, May 30, 2011
You know those kitchen dramas you read about or see on the tele? It really happens, for real, but sometimes I wish for less of it and would prefer to breeze through the process of making something so simple, like a bucket of dark chocolate ice cream. Especially after being home only shortly after a 3-week business trip from a country advancing into a humid summer to an island currently going through some sort of a heat wave. I really wanted to just chill, literally, and wished I could stuff myself into the fridge for an hour or so instead of sweating my pants silly hovering over a flaming stove, stirring a pot of custard.
But when chocolate ice cream rocks your boat, you put up with the heat, mix some ganache and cook some custard. On a 34-degrees day and all. Had this been attempted on any other week I suspect I'd end up with nothing much to report here except mix, stir, cool and freeze but being away from the kitchen too long put me slightly out of the zone. Churning out a tub of chocolate bliss took a couple of turns I didn't expect. Despite having made a custard based ice cream twice before, for some reason, I went at the egg yolk and milk mixture vigorously with a flat whisk instead of stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. My eyes weary and head quite light from all the heat both decided that the already wrongly fluffed custard needed a little while longer, after which it gloriously curdled into sweet scrambled eggs on me.
That was when I looked around for the ingredients to start a second batch of custard, found just three eggs in the fridge and promptly wished I had a chicken coup underneath my sink. Many Singaporean women did 20 years ago, no joke. But who are we kidding here right? Had I a feathery chook nested in my kitchen she would sooner fall ill of heatstroke than lay me some fat eggs. Either that or her eggs would've been half-cooked beneath her and be more appropriate sitting on two pieces of toasts instead of being in my ice cream custard. So pushing aside thoughts of having some cluckity-cluck-cluck in my life, I forced myself back to reality and resigned to going down to the grocery store.
They say if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. So I got back with a dozen eggs (just in case, you'll never know given the state I was in) and took a short break by doing the dishes. Then the custard was made and stirred into the chocolate beautifully. I licked off some of the spilled custard while cooling it down and knew that I chose the right recipe for my first homemade chocolate ice cream. I couldn't wait for my order of David Lebovitz's book to arrive so I made this off the recipe at the wonderful Jen Yu's Use Real Butter. The mercury reading and damned humidity, despite all my three air conditioners running on full throttle, would've driven me bonkers if I didn't have some ice cream, stat.
Only the ice cream bit didn't come quite so quickly. The next evening, somewhat drowsy after making and having a very good lunch, I pulled out the thickened cold custard, removed my brand new Kitchenaid ice cream maker bowl from the freezer and happily poured the cold custard into the freezing bowl. No prizes for guessing what went wrong here, unless you want some of the ice cream (and Vijay haven't finished what's left). Still oblivious to my screw up, I went on the set up the ice cream churner attachment into the bowl, popped it underneath the mixer and pushed the power button. After a couple of *crack* *pop* *clunk* spins, the attachment went wayward and snapped sideways in the bowl. Worse still, I actually repeated the attempt to mix the now half frozen custard, again! When the attachment went off I was puzzled and stressed. I
It was when Vijay was fixing the now deformed churner that I finally came to my senses. The machine should be on and spinning before the custard goes in. Brilliant. By that time, the freezer bowl had thawed and after churning for 20 minutes all I got was a marginally thicker custard instead of a soft serve mixture. So we had to wait for another day before all things could be made better with
Should you decide to churn a batch of this for yourself (and I strongly suggest you do), unless it's currently you know, winter where you live, in which case you and I can't really be friends for now, all I can offer as advice is - double the recipe. One quart would only make all things better for awhile. You don't want to be staring into that empty cup, wishing you've stirred more custard.
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted barely from Jennifer Yu's Use Real Butter, original recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.
Yields about 1 quart.
Note: Changes I made to the recipe are using whipping cream instead of heavy cream and dark chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate. There's enough sugar in this recipe to handle dark chocolate and enough cream to produce a decadent ice cream, just stick to full fat whipping cream.
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 3 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 5 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona Abinao, 85% cocoa)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Warm 1 cup of the cream with cocoa powder in medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to boil then reduce heat and gently simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate, scraping the saucepan clean as much as possible. Let stand for about 1 minute. Stir the ganache until smooth. Add in the remaining cup of cream and mix well. Place a mesh strainer atop the bowl and set aside.
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 lightly but constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. Stir until the mixture thickens and reaches nappe consistency (the custard should coat the back of the spoon).
Pour custard through the strainer into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth, then add in the vanilla. Continue to stir over an ice bath until cool. Refrigerate the mixture to cool thoroughly (I let it cool overnight). Freeze the custard in your ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don't have an ice cream machine, freeze and mix the custard periodically as per the instructions in this French vanilla ice cream recipe.
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