A spicy treat, just in time for halloween...
The base of this is a traditional Creme Anglaise, which is a classic French sauce, a stirred custard (egg-thickened) to be exact. This can be used as just that, A SAUCE, or you can put it in an ice cream maker (WAY BETTER) to make a fudgy, yummy, DELICIOUS ICE CREAM. Who doesn't love ice cream?!
Just incase that was confusing, Creme Anglaise is the base for ice cream... The sauce then goes into an ice cream maker which fluffs air into it while freezing it, stirring or churning it, ensuring that there are no large ice crystals that form, i.e. freezer burn.
Fun fact: What's the difference between Gelato and Ice Cream? Ice Cream uses cream, Gelato uses milk. Crazy, so simple.
2.5 cups half and half
4 oz good dark chocolate, melted out (*see below)
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch chili powder
other items you will need to assemble: an ice bath, frozen ice cream maker core
*Some points to note:
- Make sure you have a frozen core/bowl for your ice cream maker, place it in the freezer ATLEAST overnight... unless you want soft-serve.
- For melting out the chocolate, use a double boiler. First, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in the pot, then place the bowl with the chocolate on top and turn off the burner. The steam will melt out the chocolate at the perfect temperature.
- How to assemble the ice bath: Fill a large bowl halfway with ice, place a medium bowl on top of the ice and a double mesh strainer on top of that. This will pull out any scrambled pieces of the egg that might have congealed (not exactly the best word) during the cooking process, as well as immediately stop the cooking process - very important to a good Creme Anglaise.
- You can absolutely substitute heavy cream, milk, coconut milk, ANY milk you want in place of the half and half. Half and half just gives it a great decadent texture. Play around with it to find your favorite. Also, change up the flavorings!
- Scalding milk is when you bring it up to temperature, until there are little bubbles around the rim, just before it boils. If it starts to boil, turn it off and remove from the heat, it is fine. In this case you are heating it up to temper with the ribboned egg yolks.
- Ribboning - Whisking eggs and sugar together vigorously until they are slightly lighter in color, sunny yellow and become a little thicker, so that when you pull the whisk out, the mixture drizzles a "ribbon" back onto itself.
- Tempering - gently bringing something of a lower temperature, in this case the eggs, up to a higher temperature to cook or balancing out the temperatures. Slowly whisk in a little more than half of the scalded cream into the ribboned egg yolks. This gently brings the eggs up to temperature, without turning them into sweet scrambled eggs. Then whisk this mixture into the pan with the remaining scalded cream.
Melt out your chocolate.
In a medium saucepan, scald the half and half. While waiting, prepare your ice bath and ribbon the egg yolks with the sugar. In the bottom of the medium bowl of the sauce pan (the top bowl), place the melted out chocolate, vanilla, cayenne and chili powder.
Now comes the fun part! Temper the ribboned egg yolks with more than half of the scalded cream slowly, taking care to whisk it in completely before adding more of the hot liquid. Once added, whisk this mixture (as described before) back into the pan with the remaining hot cream. Return to the heat and using a wooden spoon or a rubber (non-heat sensitive) spatula stir CONSTANTLY over medium low heat. Make sure you stir all around the bottom, the edges, back and forth so that none of the eggs scramble on the bottom. Soon you will notice that all of the big bubbly foam is gone from the top, you are almost there!
Continue stirring until the sauce napes the back of the spoon or spatula, coating it. If you have a thermometer handy it's roughly 160-175 degrees F. I usually wait until I see just a hint of scrambled bit of the tip of the spoon. Remove IMMEDIATELY from the heat and pour through the double mesh strainer into the bowl on the ice bath with the flavorings.
Using a clean whisk, spoon or spatula, mix everything together in the bowl. Once this chills, cold to the touch, place it in the ice cream maker. It should only take 30-40 minutes to turn into a hard ice cream.
Insert spoon and enjoy! Serve immediately or place in a freezer safe container and store in the freezer (if you can make it that far).