Friday, September 20, 2013

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Fudgy.  Creamy.  Spicy.  Bold.  This ice cream is all those things wrapped up into one luscious bowl of ice cream.  

Chocolate lovers know there is a myriad of ways to enjoy the grand elegance of chocolate.  There’s the straight stuff, now available in hundreds of different kinds of bars made from premium cocoa beans grown in distant corners of the world.  Then there are the countless forms of chocolate cake, pudding, tarts, ice cream and cookies.  Chocolate is a great partner for caramel, coffee, some kinds of fruit and all kinds of spice.  That’s where Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream races to the forefront.

I don’t often blend so many different flavors together but this time I was going for the complexity you would expect to find in a deliciously mysterious but deeply satisfying cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate.  There’s the unmistakable earthy bite of bittersweet chocolate, chile and cinnamon.  A touch of allspice, cloves, and espresso powder adds a few other voices to the chorus.  Brown sugar, vanilla, rum and almond extract smooth out any rough edges.  The result is many different flavors all co-mingling in beautiful harmony.  A distinct and supremely delicious chocolate symphony, I would say.  Gather 'round all you chocolate lovers!   This is for you.

Bench notes:
- Finely chop the chocolate so it will melt quickly and evenly without any lumps.
- When making a custard type ice cream, stirring constantly over medium low heat helps to keep the mixture from coming to a boil.  Use a heatproof rubber spatula or a wide flat wooden spoon so you're able cover as much surface area as possible at the bottom of the pan while you stir.
- I like bittersweet chocolate in this ice cream because it gives it a rich deep flavor bold enough to tango with the other ingredients.  If you use semisweet chocolate, you may want to reduce the granulated sugar in the recipe.
- Once you’ve finished the ice cream base, taste it to gauge whether to add more or less of this or that.  I think I might add a touch more chile powder next time. 
- Keep adding grains of salt until you notice the flavor brighten considerably.
- I like to let the ice cream base chill overnight to allow the flavors to cozy up to each other.
- There are some great Q & As about chocolate with Alice Medrich at the ScharffenBerger website.  Very useful information for bakers.  In particular, the difference between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate is important when substituting one for the other:
"How does cacao percentage affect recipes?
Semisweet and bittersweet chocolates are composed almost entirely of cacao (dry cocoa solids plus cocoa butter) and sugar.
As cacao percentage increases, the amount of dry cocoa and cocoa butter is increased and the amount of sugar decreased. Using chocolate with 70% cacao (for example) in a recipe instead of 55% or 60% cacao, has the same effect as adding extra cocoa to your batter and subtracting sugar. You can imagine the outcome. Extra cocoa can make cakes dry, mousses cakey and grainy rather than creamy, and ganaches curdle. Meanwhile sugar normally keeps baked goods moist and ganaches soft as well as sweet, so subtracting sugar intensifies the drying effects of the extra cocoa."
- Pastry Studio is now on tumblr where I'll be putting assorted outtakes from my blog and my book along with other miscellaneous stuff.

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 cups (16 oz) milk
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) heavy cream                                                          
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) brown sugar                                                           
1 tablespoon (5 grams) cocoa powder                         
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder, to taste                            
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, to taste
slight 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt, to taste
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar              
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Finely chop the chocolate and set it a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.

Place the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer.  Whisk in the brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, espresso powder, ancho and chipotle chile powders, cloves and a pinch of salt.   Cook just a minute or so, whisking constantly, until everything is dissolved and thoroughly blended.  Take off the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks and the granulated sugar until the mixture is a light yellow color.  Slowly add about 1 cup of the heated milk mixture, whisking constantly.  Add the remaining milk and whisk.  Pour back into the saucepan and cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the custard coats the spatula and a finger traced through it leaves a clean track. Do not allow the mixture to boil.  Strain immediately into the chopped chocolate and stir slowly to combine.  Blend in the vanilla, rum and almond extract.  Taste and adjust for salt.  Pour into an airtight container and cool.  Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Freeze according to your ice cream machine manufacturer’s instructions. Pour the ice cream into a clean airtight container and press a piece of plastic wrap into the surface.  Cover and place in your freezer to firm up.


Kate said...

All your ice creams, that we've made, are outstanding. I will look forward to this revved up chocolate flavor. I have a chocoholic friend (fiend?) who will enjoy this combo added to her chocolate musings.
Your book is wonderful!
I am glad the blog rolls on too!

pastry studio said...

Hey Kate, I appreciate your very kind feedback. It's really good to know that others enjoy my ice cream shenanigans as much as I do! I think you guys will get a kick out of this one, too. It's one of my favorites in the chocolate realm.

And thanks for the comment about my book. I had a fun time building it.


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Barbara said...

Ordered your eBook and looking forward to reading it!
Great chocolate ice cream with a kick. Been wanting to do that with brownies.
Have posted a couple of your sandwich cookies this fall...about to post another.

pastry studio said...

Barbara, you are so very kind! Thanks so much for your purchase and for your beautiful blog. I appreciate how much you enjoy pastries and how you write about them. Very best to you and enjoy The Global Pastry Table!

Shikha Kaiwar said...

This reminds of the new Sergio Romo ice cream by Thre Twins in SF!

pastry studio said...

Ha! I'll have to try some!