Thursday, August 2, 2012

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Bittersweet chocolate and maple butter pecan


This post is looooong overdue.

True, I was gone for a few days here, doing this. I have been back for a while now, except I stepped off of the plane directly into an intense reporting season at work combined with the end of summer school, which means F and I have been juggling morning and afternoon parenting duties with one of us rushing out the door to go to the office the minute the other steps in.

I did however find time to buy a shiny new toy.

Don't say I didn't warn you, because I mentioned here that I knew this was likely to happen sooner or later, only you probably didn't think it would be so much sooner rather than later. But hey, I have plenty of perfectly good excuses*.

Those of you who follow me on Pinterest may already have a hunch. Roll of drums please.

Ladies and gents, I present you my brand new Kitchen Aid Ice Cream maker attachment.

This baby churns out some delicious ice cream, this said by someone who lives in the land of gelato

I get all the reasons for not owning an ice cream machine, because I had all of them until a few days ago. I understand not having the kitchen space, being lazy about planning ahead, not wanting to be tempted by the extra calories or preferring to splurge on a pair of heels.

But then again, if you have the cooking bug; if you need to watch out how many calories you ingest (yes, I am totally aware that I just used this pro as a con in the paragraph above) and thus every fat-laden calorie has to be delicious and worth its while; if you are the kind of person who despite feeling lazy, is willing to go out on a dark, cold winter evening to buy some ice cream; if you can spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what flavor you will choose the next time you have an ice cream, because there are oh so many possibilities! well, then you should own one, what are you waiting for?

Oh, the calories... Well, although it is early on to argue my point, it is much more time consuming to make ice cream than to open a container and this makes you appreciate it more once it is ready. Also, when you realize what goes into your homemade ice cream, even if you are using wholesome and organic ingredients that you can count on one hand, you will think twice about having a second serving.

I admit to having initially developed a little custard-phobia whilst reading the many recipes I found online. I mean, I had gone down the custard path before, but reading one post after the other about curdling, lovely creams turning into scrambled eggs, made me a little anxious.
So far I have made two flavors and have yet to encounter the "c" problem. It may just be beginner's luck, but I actually find the process pretty easy and I did not use a food thermometer.

Then there was also an initial scare with my ice cream machine attachment. My European version just doesn't seem to attach well to the motorhead and during my first attempt, in my zealousness to fit it better halfway through churning, I almost broke it and had to finish churning my chocolate ice cream by hand before freezing (which explains the somewhat odd texture you may notice in the photos). I was already feeling very sorry for myself when I read on several forums that the piece isn't really supposed to fit tightly. So after a wobbly start (honestly, the instructions sorta sucked) I realized that was just how it works and have started mixing in the chunky bits by hand at then end rather than during the last couple of minutes as suggested (my attachment unhinged again when I tried that). Better safe than sorry.

The end result, however, is delicious and I love that I didn't have to buy a whole new appliance, so I am still a fan of the Kitchen Aid accessory, despite the wobbliness (why can't the attachment just be like the more-stable-looking US version for crying out loud?).

Now, let's get down to business.

First, I am giving you David Lebovitz' recipe for chocolate ice cream (if you don't have an ice cream machine he has a no-churn recipe for it) that I found here because it is a great starting point for a million other flavors and hey, chocolate is my favorite! If you use good quality chocolate, the result is a rich, complex tasting ice cream that gets better and better with every bite.

Second, F's new favorite, maple butter pecan, an old Gourmet recipe I found here.

Chocolate ice cream

2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process if you have)
5 oz./1 cup roughly chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (or choc chips)
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
a pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract

In a medium heavy saucepan, warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder, whisking thoroughly until blended. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Now stir in in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour mixture into a large bowl and set a sieve on top of it.
Warm the milk, sugar and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by slowly ladling some of the warm milk into the egg yolks and whisking constantly. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat with a spatula, being careful to scrape the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (if your index finger leaves a clean mark when running it through the custard, it is ready). Pour the custard through the strainer into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Finally, stir in the vanilla extract.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, for at least 3 hours, then churn it in your ice cream maker according to instructions. Transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and store in freezer to harden.

Maple butter pecan

3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt plus a small pinch
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract)

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the chopped pecans and toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a small pinch of salt (not the 1/8 tsp!). Cool pecans and chill in fridge (they can be stored there for a few days).
In a medium sized saucepan almost bring cream, milk, maple syrup and salt to a boil, stirring occasionally. Beat yolks until smooth in a separate bowl. Prepare a bowl with a sieve to use later. Slowly ladle some of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper them and then pour them back into the saucepan. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly (if you have a thermometer, it should reach 170°). I personally did not use a thermometer and stirred until the custard coated my spatula enough to leave a clean mark when running my index finger through it. Pour custard through the previously prepared sieve into a clean bowl, stir in the extract and let cool. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours and up to a couple of days.
Churn the custard in your ice-cream maker (following your instructions). When the ice cream is ready, fold in the pecans and transfer to an airtight container to harden in the freezer. Ice cream will keep for more than a week  (if you can save it that long!).

*I did not buy one single pair of shoes since sales started
A payment I had been expecting for months from my insurance finally came through
My mom gave me an early birthday present
I was a tad disappointed by my no-churn attempt
It is hot
We consume a lot of ice cream in this household
It is cheaper and healthier to make our own ice cream
I like to know what my kids are eating
I run off the calories
I did not buy an extra appliance that takes up precious counter space


  1. Hooray! Aren't ice cream makers awesome? I absolutely love mine, although it's broken and am awaiting repairs at the moment...luckily it's still within warranty.

    Your ice creams look absolutely gorgeous, and very smooth. Yum.

  2. I did not know about this attachment, will look into it; I suffered 6 months in Beirut without decent appliances until I finally broke down and got my KitchenAid. What a relief! Your ice-cream looks like one a pro would make, yummy!!!

    1. You cannot have a KA in Beirut without an ice cream maker!!

  3. I have serious appliance envy going on. These look spectacular. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

    1. Appliance envy... how I ended up buying said appliance...

  4. Oooh congratulations on your new baby! I also love the fact that I don't have to buy a new appliance although I do struggle with finding room for it in the freezer :P

    1. Well, freezers in Italy are not that big so I ended up taking out the bottom drawer, which is the smallest anyway, and put the appliance and the made ice cream there. They both just fit. The drawer I keep in my container cabinet for small odds and ends that get lost in between my Tupperware.

  5. I got this same thing this year and have been enjoying it a lot!! I love making homemade ice cream. I may need to try your male butter pecan - I love maple! Both look delicious!

    1. Must go and look at what you have been making too!

  6. Looking delicious. I must make it tonight. Thanks for the recipe....

  7. ooh wow...that is a delicious new toy indeed! I'm def screaming for a bite! Loved your "disclosure" at the end justifying your new toy. Haha!

  8. Oh this looks so good - love bittersweet combinations in desserts, especially ice cream. My freezer is so jam-packed full of cake samples and baby food there is alas no room for my machine cannister! I can only one day dream of owning an enormous chest freezer.. mmm :)

  9. I have an ice cream social I'm attending on Saturday and these recipes look AMAZING. Thank you for sharing. I've got to make this happen!


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