Thursday, June 17, 2010

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Husband was kind enough to buy me an ice cream maker for my birthday. A more cynical person might wonder if this were an entirely disinterested purchase, but I had placed it on my amazon wishlist and lobbied hard for its purchase, so I’m willing to let him off the hook.

The nice thing about homemade ice cream is that it’s actually kind of hard to screw up. For example, I enjoy the richness that tempered egg yolks lend to ice cream. Unfortunately, for my first batch, I tried to use frozen egg yolks leftover from my recent angel food cake that were insufficiently thawed. Instead of incorporating neatly into my milk and cream mixture, yolk bits floated to the surface in ugly yellow clumps. I strained them out, and no one was the wiser – though I’m sure you’ll understand that I want to try again before sharing the first ice cream recipe (which was peanut butter chocolate swirl) with the world. The strained product was still ridiculously tasty.

This time, I used fresh eggs, and let me just say that it made a difference.

I’ve googled ice cream recipes, and many of those I found struck me as hopelessly and uselessly fussy. I really hate recipe that call for an odd amount of heavy cream, for example, because once you’ve opened the carton, heavy cream goes bad within a week. I’m not likely to use the leftover cream in anything else, and I really hate waste. It’s just not a kitchen staple, you know?

A handful of recipes sensibly call for half and half instead of jumping on the majority milk and heavy cream bandwagon. Not only is half and half cheaper, I can easily use a pint carton of it in a batch of ice cream. Needless to say, I think half and half is going to be my go-to ice cream base, though I might make exceptions for very rich, gelato-like ice creams.

Having said that, this recipe might seem a bit fussy because I make a syrup of the raspberries and a thick ganache of the dark chocolate before adding them to the ice cream. You don’t have to do all that, though. I have a hunch this would be similarly tasty if you merely thawed your berries and finely chopped a dark chocolate bar and threw it into the mix.

Since that’s not what I did, here’s the recipe:

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups half and half, divided with 2-4 tablespoons reserved
seeds from one vanilla bean (or 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
½ cup sugar, divided into equal ¼ cups
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 cup frozen raspberries (or fresh if you’re feeling decadent)
1 3.5 oz. bar dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used a Ghirardelli 72% dark chocolate bar)

Whisk together egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar until light and soft . In a double boiler, heat the large portion of half and half and vanilla seeds until very warm, stirring constantly. Add a cup or so of warmed half and half to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, then pour in a steady stream into the remainder on the stove, whisking that constantly. It sounds more complicated than it is. Heat until 170 degrees (I use a candy thermometer – this won’t really thicken, even at that temperature, because 2 yolks isn’t an very high number for ice cream).

Cool the half and half mixture in the refrigerator or in an ice water bath in the sink. Add to ice cream maker according to directions.

In a small bowl, microwave together the chocolate and reserved half and half in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted, stirring between intervals.

In a small saucepan, heat the raspberries with ¼ cup sugar until warm and syrupy.

Toward the end of the churning time, add the raspberries to the mixer. Once you are done churning it, add the chocolate. I was aiming for a swirl, but the ganache seized up very quickly, so you really get chocolate chunks. They’re good chunks, so don’t let this dissuade you. If you used ¼ cup of half and half instead of 2 tablespoons, it might be more swirl-able.

Freeze for 2-3 hours or until solid. Makes about 3 ½ cups.

This is really tasty stuff. The raspberry flavor is strong and assertive, and the chocolate is dark and decadent – though Ghirardelli can take the credit for that more than me. Husband might prefer if I don’t make this again – he loves it too, but every time I take a bite, I swoon over its deliciousness and how I’m never going back to store-bought ice cream. I’m sure that gets kind of annoying.

But I’m not going back to grocery store ice cream. Technology has made it too easy to make superlative stuff at home.

Printable recipe here.


  1. This is my kind of ice cream! I will attempt to make it this week, all I need are the raspberries, so off to the store I go, plus their on sale, woo-hoo!

  2. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  3. Pretty photos! I just saw this on P.G. and noticed your window seal. It looks a lot like mine (1920's oldish look). The ice cream looks pretty and very rustic sitting there-me like!
    Oh, and the ice cream sounds great too...

  4. Thanks! The windows are indeed from the 20s, which is aesthetically nice but not so great for our winter heating bill ... :)