As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a penchant for the bittersweet, or maybe just bitter… My favorite childhood flavor of Friendly’s ice cream was Forbidden Chocolate, which no other 8 year old around me could tolerate. In college a nice French boy gave me a bar of Cote D’or 86% Noir Brut (literally translated, raw black) and I became obsessed. Lately I’ve been popping cacao nibs like M&M’s.
Sadly, I’ve outgrown Forbidden Chocolate, so when Liz sent me Ina Garten’s recipe for deeply chocolate gelato calling for an entire cup of cocoa powder, I was sold.
My cocoa powder supply is depleted, there is chocolate on my nose, all over my white sweater, smudged on my elbow (how?), and I’m positive I’ll find chocolate goop in my hair later.
You should only make this ice cream if you’re a dark chocolate freak too, though even then, you could easily reduce the cocoa powder content to half a cup, and it would still be like midnight. It tastes like an 80% bar in ice cream form, with a dry finish. At first it was so intense Liz fell over after taking her first bite, but day by day, it grew on her, much like black coffee or strong whiskey. “I ate some last night, and it was great,” she texted this morning. I, on the other hand, have been letting it melt until it’s like soft serve, then shoveling it into my mouth for breakfast. Three hours later, the taste still lingers, and I want more. A gallon would be nice.
I added fresh cherries, which I pitted without a cherry pitter. I tried the paper clip trick, which, for the record, did not work. I tried using a straw, as suggested by Lifehacker, and only managed to squirt cherry juice all over my shirt (maybe it’s time to invest in an apron?). Finally I just used a paring knife and sliced around the pit, which was surprisingly quick and easy. The tartness of cherries brightens up the intensity of the chocolate, but is completely optional.
Adapted from Ina Garten's Deeply Chocolate Gelato
- Beat egg yolks in a pot, then add milk, cream, and sugar. Bring it to a simmer, remove from heat, add the cocoa powder and chocolate, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the cherries and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens into a pudding-like consistency. This may take several minutes but the thickening will happen quickly towards the end. Do not let the mixture boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in the liqueur, vanilla extract, and salt. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set the mixing bowl over an ice bath, then refrigerate until fully chilled.
- Churn the custard in an ice cream maker. Eat as soft serve or freeze in a covered container.
- Once fully frozen, thaw the ice cream for 20 minutes at room temperature before scooping.
For reference, a picture of the custard after I gave it an ice bath 🙂