My love for ice cream is no secret to regular readers of this site. I could churn a new ice cream flavor everyday and be happy, if it weren’t for the fact that I couldn’t keep up with eating them all. However, as much as I like trying to make some oddball flavors, sometimes you need to return to some simpler classics. And when a pregnant wife asks for chcoclate, you give her chocolate! So today: chocolate hazelnut ice cream.
This ice cream was any chocolate lover’s dream. I debated calling it a gelato on account of the thick texture and richness of flavor. Speaking of flavor, this was so intensely chocolate and very distinctly hazelnut (I’m a sucker for hazelnut anything). This isn’t an ice cream to load your bowl up with–one small, perfect scoop will do you just right. Save the overindulging for the boring storebought chcolate ice creams.
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1.5 cups praline paste
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- ~6 oz bitter/semi-sweet chocolate chunks
- 5 egg yolks
Begin by making the praline paste. You will probably have some leftover, but I sincerely doubt you’ll have trouble finding a place to use it. I’ll have another recipe posted (one of these days) to do just that in case you’re really hard-pressed. Toast the (shelled) hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Then rub the hell out of them to shed as much papery coating off as you can. In a saucepan, melt the sugar down into caramel (figure 10 minutes of medium-high heat) without stirring. Once totally caramel in color, drop the heat to low and add the hazelnuts in and give things a stir so all the nuts get coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully pour the contents of the pan out onto the paper so that its spread out a bit. Give this some time to cool down, as right now, you’d get a very nice burn touching that. Once cool, grind this down into a powder in your food processor and store in an airtight container. Don’t refrigerate the leftovers.
In a saucepan, mix 1 cup of cream, milk, praline paste, salt, and sugar. Scald this mixture over medium heat and then cover and remove from heat, Leave it to steep for at least an hour so the hazelnut oils are released into the cream. When time is up, strain this mixture, squeezing every last drop of liquid out and discarding the solids. Sample the liquid–it is gooooooood.
In another pot, heat the remaining 1 cup of cream. Whisk in the cocoa powder and raise to a boil. Set the chcoolate chunks in a big bowl and pour the hot cream over them. Let sit for a minute and then whisk until silky smooth. Work the vanilla extract in while you’re at it.
Now, rewarm the hazelnut infused milk. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until lightened in color and then temper them with a bit of the hot cream. Transfer the yolks into the hot cream and stir constantly over medium heat, cooking for 5-10 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Set a strainer over the bowl of chocolate cream and pour the cooked custard in. Whisk this all together well.
Finally, cool this all down in an ice bath for 2 minutes or so (if you did this earlier, you would have made it very difficult to work with the chocolate), stirring somewhat regularly. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge for a few hours. Churn in your ice cream maker for 20 minutes and let firm up in the freezer over night.
Enjoy (as if I need to tell you to do that)!