Sunday, January 16, 2011

Guinness and Chocolate Ice Cream

After the success of the cinnamon and plum swirl ice cream, I decided it was time to get more adventurous with my ice cream maker.  Having spent a lot of time on David Lebovitz's wonderful food blog ( I discovered references to his Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream from his cookbook "The Perfect Scoop" (Dear Santa, please bring me a copy some day).  This guy has a seriously kookie approach to ice cream flavours, but what genius!  Caramelised bacon ice cream, for example.  It sounds so wrong it's right.

Given the recent interest by Mr J in the stouts and porters from our local micro-brewed beer store - Plonk - I figured a Guinness and chocolate ice cream would go down very well with the significant other.  And, as fate would have it, an appropriate occasion came along, as I was having a gaggle of friends around for dinner, so I whipped Snowy's (the ice cream maker) base in the freezer and began my plotting.

Unfortunately for the original recipe, the day I went to the shops to buy the ingredients I had just undergone a particularly painful visit to the dentist and so was not in the right frame of mind to be trawling the supermarket (the lower portion of my face was completely numb, and I was trying not to drool in public).  As a result, I missed half the ingredients and I needed to adapt the recipe somewhat to take account of what I had in the (newly organised) pantry.  As a result, the ice cream went from milk chocolate to a mix of milk-and-dark.  I had some 70 per cent Lindt and interspersed it with the last of my easter chocolate eggs from last year, which had miraculously survived untouched in my liquor cabinet (hurrah)!  I also substituted normal sugar for brown sugar, to enhance the caramel undertones to the dish.  And, as I made the custard with the milk and cream over the heat - not including the cream in the end with the cooling chocolate mix - I ended up adding another 1/2 cup of cream.   All of this is included in the recipe below.

The result was a much richer, darker more bitter flavour which I think perfectly suits the Guinness, and I served it with a shot of Young's Double Chocolate Stout (yes, it is an actual flavour) from Plonk.  It's brewed in the UK and, according to Mr J, tastes like a "milkshake in a beer bottle".  It is rather tasty and has really brought me over to stout.  Yum!  And it comes in a pretty bottle too... alas, I am still rather shallow in my beer selection.

Guinness & Chocolate Ice Cream

-  7 ounces mixed milk and dark chocolate (finely chopped)
-  1 cup full cream milk
-  1/2 cup brown sugar
-  4 egg yolks
-  1 1/2 cups thickened cream
-  3/4 cup Guinness
-  pinch of salt
-  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I started by chopping up the chocolate finely and popping it into a large mixing bowl.  You'll be pouring the hot custard (through a sieve) onto this later, and then melting it into the mix, so the bowl needs to be quite large.

In a smaller bowl, separate the egg yolks and beat them with a whisk.  Now, everything is prepared, you can start making the custard base.

On the stove, pop your milk, 1 cup of the thickened cream and the brown sugar in a saucepan and mix on a medium heat until it's warm (but not boiling).  Then, bit-by-bit, gradually empty it into the bowl with the egg yolks - whisk it continually as you gradually pour this in, then pop it back into the saucepan.  Set it back on the heat until it thickens and clings to the back of your spoon.

Now, pour the custard through the sieve into the chocolate bowl - this eliminates any chunky bits that may have developed in your custard (happens to the best of us).  Stir until the custard has melted all the chocolate and it looks like the waterfall in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Resist the temptation to begin drinking the liquid deliciousness.  Add in the last 1/2 cup of cream and stir until combined.

Cover the bowl with cling film and (when it's cooled off a little bit) pop it in the fridge overnight to cool.  In order to ensure you get the best possible results, you need to let this cool completely - like a giant chocolate milkshake.

The next morning, get the ice cream maker base out of the freezer, set up your churner and pour your (chilled) chocolate custard in.  This mix, I think due to the alcohol content, didn't churn into a particularly set mix.  It was more like half-melted soft serve, but persevere!  I popped it into a plastic container, stuck it in the fridge for about 6 hours and it - was - AMAZING!  Thank you, David Lebovitz.  This recipe will definitely be a repeat offender.  It's dark, rich and subtle with just the undertone of stout.  Beautiful.

I served a single scoop with blue berries and a side shot of matching stout.  It received rave reviews from both Mr J and the other dinner guests.


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