Saturday, September 5, 2009
Cacao Nib Gelato
The other day while I was talking to my mom on the phone, Mr. Penpen pulled a bowl – to his credit, it was one of our ice cream bowls – out of the freezer and gave me an inquisitive look. I told him not to eat the contents of the bowl since it was shortening, which prompted my mom to ask, “Don’t you have any ice cream?” I told her that of course we had ice cream, homemade Cacao Nib Gelato, actually. She then said she hadn’t seen it on my blog, which was true: not all ice creams make the blog. I did figure the Cacao Nib Gelato would make an appearance at some point, probably as an accompaniment to another dessert, but then I decided and ice cream this delicious deserved its own post. Seriously, I think this may be my very favorite flavor this summer.
I had initially thought the cacao nibs were mixed into the ice cream, but instead they are infused in the gelato base, giving the gelato a glorious depth of cocoa flavor, without overpowering the pure taste of sweet cream. Since this gelato is not a typical heavy chocolate ice cream, you can pair it with chocolate desserts without going into overload. It’s also perfect on its own, especially eaten in spoonfuls (just one more!) straight out of the container. This recipe gets a 9 for Deliciousness and a 2.5 for Effort, giving it an EDR of 3.6
Cacao Nib Gelato, from the September 2009 issue of Bon Appetit (for printable recipe, click HERE)
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup cacao nibs
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise (you could also use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla paste)
5 large egg yolks
¾ cups sugar
Combine heavy whipping cream, whole milk, and cacao nibs in heavy large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean; add bean. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat. Cover and let mixture steep 30 minutes. Uncover and return to simmer. Whisk 5 large egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in large heatproof bowl until mixture is pale yellow and slightly thickened. Gradually add hot cream mixture to yolk mixture, whisking until well blended. Return mixture to same saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and coats back of spoon when finger is drawn across and instant-read thermometer inserted into custard registers 170°F, about five minutes (mine took less than five minutes). Transfer custard to medium bowl, cover with plastic, and chill overnight (both times I’ve made this, I’ve chilled the custard at least twenty hours).
When ready to churn the ice cream, pour custard through fine strainer set over bowl; discard solids (cacao nibs and vanilla beans) in strainer. Transfer custard to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer gelato to freezer container. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm, at least 8 hours or overnight. Can be made three days ahead. Keep frozen.