Frozen Desserts: Part 6

If you read my last post or gave the recipe a try, I'm going to give you another recipe for your ice cream maker. It's a bit different: dark chocolate and chile ice cream from Rick Bayless. This is a fantastic flavor combination that's great to make at home, as you probably won't see it in your local ice cream shop. Don't be put off by the chile. It's not spicy and it lends a warm note to the rich chocolaty ice cream.

Pasilla negro chile and chopped bittersweet chocolate

Dark Chocolate Chile Ice Cream

1 large pasilla negro chile
4 ounces bittersweet (preferably 60-70%) chocolate, chopped
1 1/3 cups half and half
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Place a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the top off the chile with a pair of kitchen shears, then cut the side and remove the seeds. Using tongs, toast the chile by pressing the it into the skillet until very fragrant, about 10 seconds per side. Place the chile into a small saucepan and pour in the half and half. Heat over medium until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edges (do not boil). Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a double boiler:  fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Choose a large heat-proof bowl that can easily be nestled into the saucepan with out touching the water. Place the egg yolks into this bowl and set aside on the counter.

Place the chopped chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl. Transfer the chile-half and half mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth. (Take out the center of the blender lid to allow heat to escape after you've turned it on). Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into the saucepan and heat until steaming (do not boil). Rinse the strainer as you will need it later. Once it's hot, pour over the chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Then whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted.

Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in the chocolate mixture until smooth. Reduce the boiling water to a simmer and place the bowl of egg-chocolate mixture on top. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until thickened, about 5 minutes. You will know it is thick enough when you can dip the spoon into the mixture, run your finger along the back and the line stays. This will be about 180 degrees on an instant read thermometer if you have one.

Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Place the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in heavy cream, vanilla and espresso. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately if you prefer a soft texture, otherwise freeze in air-tight container to allow it to firm up a bit.

Makes approximately 1 quart.

Note: Store in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to three days. 

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