In the new world of creative, designer ice creams, the plain old chocolate stuff is not good enough for everybody any more. Is this a bad thing? Not when it leads to the “burnt” chocolate ice cream I tasted in Napa Valley recently! Oh, I’m not giving up my basic chocolate–but just wait until you try this haunting, complex stuff that’s so rich it demands its own ice cream base. Eat it alone, or as a “burnt” sundae topped with caramel sauce, toasted nuts and roasted marshmallows.
Makes 3 pints of ice cream
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar (divided into two 1/3 cup portions)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup egg yolks (about 14 large yolks)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (This is one instance in which you do NOT want to use the best-quality chocolate on the market. Instead, choose something like Nestle Toll House morsels which have a higher oil content than most good quality chocolate and will therefore burn more easily, better capturing the burnt quality of this unique ice cream).
1. Combine the milk, heavy cream, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the split vanilla bean in a large saucepan placed over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of the sugar; with a whisk, mix them together thoroughly.
3. When the mixture in the saucepan comes to a boil, remove it from heat. Very slowly, in a thin stream at first, whisk the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the sugar and egg yolks. When the cream mixture and the egg-yolk mixture are combined, pour into the saucepan.
4. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken (it should take less than 5 minute); at this stage it will evenly coat the back of a spoon, and register about 175 degrees. Remove mixture from heat, and pour it into a large bowl that is set among ice cubes in a baking pan. Let the mixture cool down for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Place the chocolate morsels in a small, heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Place the pan over medium-low heat, and cook the morsels for about 5 minutes. Stir them only once every minute, because you want them to burn. This is a very smoky process, but it is worth it. Once the five minutes are up, if the morsels are burned, slowly whisk them into the cream mixture in the bowl in the ice pan. The mixture will need to cool once more for 15 minutes. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it to let the steam out. Refrigerate until it is cold. Finally, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium-sized bowl.
6. To freeze the mixture, you will need to follow the manufacturer’s directions from your ice cream machine.