There's nothing wrong with regular old Tip Top (though we do have a bit of a running family joke about the "flavoured frozen dairy dessert" that some other brands try to pass off as ice-cream), and I have a thing for the Killinchy Gold salted caramel and cashew flavour (which Mr Cake calls "yucky ice cream" - more for me then!), but it's a different thing, really. Very few readymade ice-creams are still made with the traditional custard base and the flavour difference is noticeable. So while we still go through plenty of the store-bought stuff, every so often I want the real deal.
In order to appease Mr Cake I started with a recipe that he has previously proclaimed as "possibly the best ice cream ever." It's David Leibovitz's milk chocolate ice cream, from The Perfect Scoop. If you are a fan of homemade frozen desserts I highly recommend this book - all the classics and plenty of inventive options, and sections on toppings and mix ins if you want to further embellish. Which naturally I did... Because why wouldn't you?
This recipe takes the decadence to the extreme - if you're going to put all that effort in you might as well yield maximum yum-factor, right? This can be a dessert all on its own if you want, or will be the perfect accompaniment to something simple and light - a nice light spongy pud, if you prefer the cakey route, or a generous serving of chopped strawberries.
The mix ins can be left out, but they create a great textural combo - the white chocolate remains hard, while the dark chocolate truffles stay soft and chewy.
Though it takes a while to make ice cream, and with any custard you do have to watch like a hawk to ensure it doesn't split while thickening, it's pretty simple. You start by melting the chocolate with the cream, then warm the milk and sugar, temper the eggs and then thicken the custard before adding the chocolatey goodness. And then there's the waiting game - don't skimp on the chilling time, or you'll just be making life harder for yourself when it comes to churning and freezing. Give it a minimum of four hours; overnight is even better.
After churning I put mine into a trifle bowl and made sure there were plenty of yummy chocolate bits visible on top. Not a traditional way to present ice cream but if it's to serve to guests it has a bit more pizzazz than a plastic container.
So tell me - are you committed to the ice cream cause, or are you happy with the supermarket stuff? What's your favourite scoop flavour?
Triple chocolate ice cream (adapted from David Leibovitz's The Perfect Scoop)
230g good quality milk chocolate (I used Whittaker's Creamy Milk)
375ml whole milk
150g / 3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2 tsp Cognac (optional)
For the mix ins - dark chocolate truffles and white chocolate chunks
3 Tbsp glucose syrup
170g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
Combine the milk chocolate and cream in a bowl and heat over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted. Set aside with a sieve over the top.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar and salt and warm over a gentle heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add the warm milk a little at a time, whisking constantly, until all is added.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour through the sieve into the chocolate, add the Cognac (if using) and stir to combine.
Chill for at least four hours, or overnight.
Heat the cream for the truffles with the glucose syrup in a small saucepan until just beginning to boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate, and stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and freeze for about an hour, or until firm.
Line a plate or tray with baking paper or gladwrap. Use two spoons to scoop small balls out of the mixture and place on the tray. Freeze until ready to add to the ice cream.
Churn ice cream in an ice cream maker until thick and semi frozen, or put into the freezer and stir at 30 minute intervals to break up ice crystals until thick. Once thick and semi frozen, transfer to your serving dish and add most of the truffles and white chocolate. Freeze for 30 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining truffles and white chocolate on top, and freeze for at least two hours before serving.
This will last covered in the freezer for up to two weeks; if planning to keep it for that long it will be best stored in an airtight container rather than a trifle bowl, though! ;-)