"Life is like an ice-cream cone. You have to lick it one day at a time."
Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Me neither, until the other day. My friend Di, of Di's Kitchen Notebook put together an ice cream posting event for today and graciously invited me to submit. I haven't made ice cream in years, but remember so fondly my grandparents churning out fresh strawberry, peach and chocolate flavors. The experience of licking the ice cream maker paddles, and the super-fresh taste are still vividly locked in memory!
A new cookbook of mine, Sarabeth's bakery, included some ice cream recipes that piqued my interest, so this was a good excuse to borrow an ice-cream maker and try my hand at it. I chose the recipe for chocolate velvet ice cream and decided to throw some cheesecake chunks in it (as if it wasn't decadent enough already!). This is no ordinary chocolate ice cream. The recipe is engineered to produce really silky, creamy, luxurious results. Honey is used for sweetener because it's composition deters ice crystals from forming and the rich chocolate custard does feel velvety smooth on your palate. You really should make this the day before you plan to eat it. It starts with a cooked custard that should be completely chilled before you churn it. Then, the churned ice cream needs to freeze another 3-4 hours. The result was a perfectly smooth, rich, decadent, intensely chocolate ice cream with welcome little pods of cheesecake. By the way, I wasn't going to bake a cheesecake for the sake of throwing a few pieces in the ice cream. I just picked up a slice at a restaurant, threw it in the freezer and cut it up and folded it into the ice cream, after churning, but before the final freezing.
Chocolate Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery
10 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate (no more than 65% cacao)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange blossom honey (or other mild honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks (or 7 jumbo)
1 slice plain New York Cheesecake, frozen and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
1. Bring 1 inch of water to simmer in a medium saucepan. Put the chocolate in a wide, heatproof bowl and place it over the simmering water in the saucepan. Stir until the chocolate is melted and set aside.
2. Pour the cream and milk into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and add the sugar and honey. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and place them by the stove.
3. Heat the cream mixture over medium heat, stirring almost constantly with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture is very hot but not simmering. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the yolks. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and place on med-low heat.
4. Cook, stirring constantly with the spatula, being sure to reach the corners of the saucepan, until the custard is thick enough to nicely coat the spatula. Stir in vanilla. Cool slightly. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap laid directly on the sure (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until completely chilled, or up to 24 hours.
5. Transfer the chilled custard to an ice-cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remove paddle and fold in chunks of cheesecake. Pack into a covered container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.