Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream (and a Bashful Apology)
5 June 2007
Whoa. I mean, whoa. It's been a long time, hasn't it? People, I have been meaning to post this recipe since Christmas.
But no, I blithely left this little space on hold - no posts, no replies to so many gracious comments, and completely skating by a hosting commitment for Is My Blog Burning? I had such a nice theme picked out and everything. People, I'm sorry - if anyone was disappointed that that event didn't materialize you have my deepest apologies. Maybe we'll try again sometime, if they'll still let me.
Well, since I hardly expect anyone actually saw the calendar listing and was that disappointed, let's move on, shall we? It's time for the excuses! I had a really busy winter - new job, new relationship, new set of life circumstances, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But where I've been really busy is over at Apartment Therapy's The Kitchen, where posting has been keeping me really busy. I love it though; the community there is fantastic and it's so fun to explore cooking, eating, and sustainable living with them.
But a handful of people who are indeed very important to me have urged me, not so gently as the case may be, to get back with the program, and I am going to try my very, very best to still post here somewhat regularly with this and that. And now that I've managed to remember where I put my Movable Type login info - here I am again!
The recipe for today? A very non-seasonal seasonal dessert - non-seasonal because of its warm holiday flavors, and oh-so-seasonal because it's ice cream. It's hot out there and I expect it's hot where you are too, so if you feel like tart, plump cranberries and streaks of barely sweet dark chocolate in a rich, creamy custard, then this is for you.
This is also a homecoming homage, of sorts. I recently decided (hey presto life change!) to move from Florida, where I currently live, back home to Ohio. Central Ohio is, rather surprisingly, a veritable Mecca for ice cream lovers. There's Ye Olde Mill and Velvet Ice Cream out in Utica - location of many happy summer trips. There's the fantabulous Jeni's Ice Creams - may I have a job, please? (Hello, Salty Caramel Ice Cream! Hi there, Coriander with Raspberry, and Butterscotch with Cocoa Nibs! How about some Thai Chili or Strawberry Rose Petal?)
But then, of course, there's Graeter's. Founded in Cincinnati in 1870, Graeter's has a long history in the Ohio community. Their extraordinarily rich French Pot ice cream is known for classic perfection of texture and density, and for its chocolate chips - some flavors are studded with enormous, unevenly chopped flakes of dark chocolate that slowly melt on your tongue long after the ice cream is gone.
This recipe was inspired by those enormous shiny chunks; I wanted the dramatic chocolate effect. The best way to get it is to slowly trickle in partially-melted chocolate, but most home ice cream makers aren't cold enough or powerful enough to harden the chocolate before it melts the ice cream. So I chopped really good chocolate into uneven shards - some big and chunky, others tiny and flaky - and slowly shook them in at the end of freezing. It's not as good as Graeter's - that would be too much to ask - but I was happy with the balance of flavors and textures. Try using big sweet cherries or prunes, steeped in booze, to make it more summery.
makes about 1 1/2 quarts ice cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups cream
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons rum
6-10 ounces premium dark chocolate, like Scharffen-Berger
1/2 recipe Cranberry Sauce, made with plenty of orange zest and brandy
Whisk the first four ingredients together and slowly heat over low heat to 170ºF. Stir in the rum. Chill overnight - or for at least four hours.
Chop the chocolate into rough chunks and flakes. Warm the cranberry sauce just slightly, so it can be easily spooned out. Freeze the custard in the ice cream maker. Near the middle of freezing, gradually dribble in the cranberry sauce, then put in the chocolate.
Freeze the ice cream in a covered bowl, with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ice cream.