It has been a long hiatus for reasons somewhat boring to mention, but suffice to stay that the ice cream creation and consumption will continue — although in another state, as I’m now in Ann Arbor. While the winters are worse in Michigan than in California, the heat of the summers makes ice cream a particularly necessary treat. Or so I tell myself.
In this season when everyone is eating frozen things, I figured a flavor that almost everyone can enjoy was a good place to start. I mean, you’re not going to serve pesto ice cream to a child, are you? In honor of a particular small human who lives in Oakland and was the only Californian nice enough to record a goodbye video for me, find the below flavor — which almost no one, young or old, will be able to resist.
½ cup sugar
2 cups cream
2 cups milk
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 oz rum or whiskey (optional, but it makes it easier to scoop)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl with a strainer positioned on top. Toast the almonds in a pan over medium heat until they start to small fragrant and turn golden (don’t let them burn).
Whisk to combine cream, 1 cup milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a medium pot. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, but don’t let it boil.
Whisk three egg yolks in a medium bowl. It’s OK if there are some traces of egg white — no need to be a perfectionist — but try to minimize that.
When the dairy mixture is hot but not yet simmering (honestly, if it starts to simmer a little, you’ll be OK), remove from heat. Slowly ladle about a cup into the egg yolks, whisking with one hand while ladling with the other to temper the yolks.
Once complete, transfer the yolk mixture to the pot, and then return to medium heat. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom at times. Once the custard is thick enough to slightly coat the back of the spatula (another sign: you will start to notice that scraping the bottom of the pot encounters some solid residue), remove from heat and pour through the strainer into the chocolate.
Wash the whisk off. Once the base has strained, whisk the base with the chocolate mixture that’s at the bottom until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is fully combined. Add the remainder of the milk and the rum or whiskey, if using. Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool for thirty minutes (if you’re too lazy, it’s ok to just do this on the counter). Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least two hours before churning.
When chilled, process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add the almonds when the ice cream is nearly complete. Freeze for eight hours.