If I’m going to make homemade ice cream, I don’t want to make something that I can buy in a store, especially if store-bought would generally taste better. But I still prefer to keep it affordable and fairly simple.
Great chocolate ice cream should be rich and creamy, obviously – but making it better than store-bought usually requires pretty high quality chocolate, which isn’t cheap or necessarily easy to find.
I’ve tried a few different versions of Mexican chocolate ice cream, from a very cheap version that used a bottle of Hershey’s syrup to a complex version that called for multiple types of chocolate added in several steps and infusing whole spices.
This recipe is my own invention: I started with a technique from a favorite French vanilla recipe then just added chopped Abuelita hot cocoa bars (that I keep on hand anyway) to keep the list of ingredients as short as possible. You’ll need a mixer and a little patience for the egg steps, but it’s actually faster and less messy than the usual hot milk into eggs technique. Separating the eggs and cooking it this way is worth the extra effort, I think, for the final effect – it’s a ridiculously creamy ice cream that’s still pretty simple and cheap.
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream, a la France
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 2/3 c. sugar
- 1 quart half & half
- 4 bars Abuelita brand hot cocoa
- Wash and dry beaters before starting on the egg whites – any leftover grease will make them not beat up stiffly. Beat until stiff, stirring around edges to be sure the texture is consistent. Set aside “meringued” egg whites.
- Beat egg yolks and sugar together – they’ll start out a bit heavy and bright lemon colored, then turn lighter and get smoother as it goes. It should be glossy and sticky lookign when you’re done
- Fold egg yolks into whites gently – I drip some across the top of the whites, then use a rubber spatula to mix them in in a soft looping motion to be sure not to deflate the egg whites
- Pour egg mixture into a saucepan and stir in the half & half, again gently. Add chopped cocoa and stir over low to medium heat until chocolate melts.
- Stir and cook carefully – with all the eggs and sugar it scorches easily – until the custard reaches 150 degrees at least and starts to thicken. This may take a few more minutes past the chocolate melting, but don’t let it boil or it will separate.
- NOTE: If your custard does “curdle” a bit and start to separate – you’ll notice foamy bits and watery bits – just put it through a fine sieve and freeze as usual. It won’t be quite as creamy but it will still taste fine.
- Cool custard in fridge or by setting in a sink full of ice water and stirring until chilled.
- Pour into ice cream maker and freeze. I think ice cream works best if you can freeze it overnight to let it “ripen.
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