gorgeous, low fat, storecupboard chocolate icecream…

This is a ridiculously simple and even low-fat ice cream that yields intense results. Sicilians used to use cornflour in gelati as a thickener in place of egg yolks; it's cheaper and lighter for the digestion (an Italian obsession) and it doesn't inhibit the flavours of the other ingredients as egg can.

450ml (16fl oz) whole milk
15g (½oz) cornflour
50g (1¾oz) best possible cocoa powder
75g (2¾oz) golden granulated or caster sugar
pinch of salt

Mix 100ml (3½fl oz) of the milk with the cornflour to a smooth paste. Set aside. Mix together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat the remaining milk to simmering point, then pour in a steady stream over the cocoa mixture, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming. Return the mixture to the hob in a stainless-steel pan, cooking over a very low heat at barely simmering point. Stir the bottom constantly to prevent scorching; it can easily catch, so take care. Cook for six minutes, then add the blended cornflour, whisking again to prevent lumps. Return to a simmer and cook for two minutes until thickened and smooth.

Strain the mixture into a clean container and cool in an ice-water bath, stirring often to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least four hours (this 'ages' the ice cream so that the water and fat cells mingle and the ice cream has better body and melts more slowly once frozen).

Freeze and churn in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Serve with cashew nuts and a pinch of lightly toasted ancho chilli seeds ground up with sea salt, or with sweetened whipped cream and grated dark chocolate.


These are just some ideas I've had and not yet tested. Do let me know if you think it will work, and if you try some of the ideas.

That Sicilian orange flavouring that Dan Lepard made me buy would zhuzh it up into Choc Orange; similarly a splodge of peppermint flavouring sends it to Choc Mint. Add cocoa nibs or coffee beans or chopped nuts for some crunch or marshmallows to make it into rocky road. Addition of a big spoon of espresso powder could switch it to mocha. Moving beyond chocolate, I wonder if you could get away with making this in other flavours entirely? You could use the instant coffee instead of the cocoa rather than in addition to, for a mocha, adding coffee beans again for crunch and even a spoon of ground coffee for mouth feel. As with the blancmange, you could infuse the simmering milk with any number of whole spices: vanilla beans, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, lemon peel… in combination or alone for a clear pure taste. How about a version with the oh-so-trendy, ouch-my-bank-balance matcha powder for green tea icecream? And so on!

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posted by niles on 15 Jul 11 - 7309 views

recipes from niles