Adventures in Ice Cream Making – Curdling Custard

Chocolate Ice Cream

It started with a craving for chocolate.  One of those cravings that sits in the back of your consciousness all day saying, “You know you want it.  Just a little.  Just a bite.”  If you read my last post you would know I am trying to lose about 10 lbs.  As much as I would like to lose a few pounds I gotta be real.  You can’t deprive yourself from sweets for weeks and expect to succeed, or at least I can’t. I have been doing great this week. Mostly feasting on recipes from Super Natural Everyday, so I decided to treat myself.

Ice cream, my all time favorite.  I modified David Lebovitz’s recipe for chocolate ice cream, using less cream and more whole milk as well as using chocolate chips instead of powdered chocolate.  I have been testing milk & cream combos and haven’t found the perfect combination yet.  Most have been too heavy on the cream which makes my ice cream taste more like frozen whipped cream.  I chose to make a custard style ice cream for the extra challenge.  I thought, “If I could make a good lemon curd then logically I could make custard for ice cream.”  Sound thinking, right?

Well, here is how my night went.  I poured one cup of heavy cream and 6 oz of good quality semi sweet chocolate chips into a large bowl and melted it together with a double boiler (a metal bowl sitting in a saucepan containing an inch or two of barely simmering water).  Then I combined 2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and warmed it to steaming.  I whisked together the 5 egg yolks and slowly spooned about a tablespoon at a time of hot milk into the egg as I whisked.  After adding countless tablespoons of steaming milk, the eggs were warm enough for me to whisk into the hot milk mixture.  I was talking to my mom on the phone at this point and I remember saying those famous last words.  “I did it!  My custard is smooth as silk.  In a few minutes it will thicken and I can mix it with the chocolate. ”

Somehow I must have heated it too much or too long because by the time I started pouring the egg mix though the strainer and into the chocolate it was completely curdled.  Bummer!  I tried to strain out as much egg mixture as I could but it was no use, it looked like ricotta.

Where to go from here?  How can I save it.  It’s almost 10pm and my chocolate craving is still roaring.  I decided to strain the chocolate mixture through my mesh strainer to make sure I got all the curdled egg out.  Then I added 1 1/2 cups of whole milk and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream to the chocolate and stirred until smooth.  I poured it into the ice cream maker and crossed my fingers.

5 minutes later.  I am peeking in at the ice cream.  Not much change.  I worry that I added too much milk & cream.

10 minutes later.  Its getting thicker, but I’m still worried.

17 minutes later.  I have been spooning out ice cream from the opening in the top since minute 14.  It’s so creamy and smooth with itty-bitty flakes of chocolate throughout.  I literally cannot wait to eat it.

20 minutes and its done.  I pour half into a bowl for Tom and I to share.  The other half is packed into the freezer.

25 minutes.  An empty chocolate stained bowl and two smeared spoons rest next to the bed.  Chocolate craving sated.