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Gourmet, Unbound: February

Chocolate ice creamEmpanada Boy and I love ice cream, and unlike some people, we have no problem eating it in the depths of winter. It’s been in the 20s and low 30s for about a week here in New York, but we have still been craving it. Luckily, we got our ice cream maker out of storage when we moved. For my February tribute to Gourmet magazine, I wanted to make a special, seasonal ice cream flavor, so I hunted down a Feburary 2003 recipe for Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. This calls for Ibarra chocolate, a widely available Mexican drinking chocolate, which has the sugar and the spices all built in. If ever an ice cream could be wintry, this is it!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Yield: Makes about 1-1/2 quarts
Active time: 40 min
Start to finish: 2-1/2 hr (includes freezing)

Ingredients
1/2 vanilla bean
11 oz Mexican chocolate (3-1/2 disks; preferably Ibarra), coarsely chopped
3-3/4 cups half-and-half
3 large eggs
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer; an ice cream maker

Preparation
Halve vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Add chocolate and half-and-half and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Remove from heat.

Lightly beat eggs with salt in a bowl, then add hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Transfer custard to cleaned saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard registers 175°F on thermometer, 1 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Put bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring occasionally.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until hardened, about 1 hour.

See my other Gourmet, Unbound posts:
April 2010, Shrimp Scampi Pasta
March 2010, Chicken with Black-Pepper Maple Sauce
January 2010, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Pancetta
December 2009, Walnut Spice Cake with Lemon Glaze

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