Photo by ArtsySF and used with her permission.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips and Blueberry-Port Wine Swirl

When I added this as a flavor for the survey I had no idea it would win. I honestly thought that some of the other flavors were more interesting. So I was taken by surprise when it won the poll. I didn’t have a clue on what to make. All I knew is that if I pureed the blueberries and mixed them into the chocolate, the resulting color would be less than appetizing.

Since this is chocolate blueberry and not the other way around, the base had to be chocolate. So I went dark. It seems that the anti-oxidant craze has caused enough of a stir that consumers demand darker chocolate. M&M Mars and Hershey have both introduced new versions of some of their best sellers using dark chocolate. So I thought I would too.

If you make a lot of ice cream, you know that most recipes for chocolate ask for Dutch processed cocoa powder. I have never had success using the powder. It requires a longer cook time in order to truly remove the powdery taste and texture. So I prefer to rough chop chocolate bars and melt them in the milk. Having made the jam first, it became obvious that the chocolate should be very rich. For the ice cream base I used a combination of Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet and Theo 84% bittersweet because I had them on hand. Truthfully I find the Ghirardelli to be semi-sweet even though it is labeled as bittersweet, but the Theo bar more than makes up for this. The chocolate chunks are El Rey Apatame 73.5% (purchased at Whole Foods as a bar cut from a larger slab) which I chopped myself. You can use chocolate chips or chunks interchangeably. Whatever you decide, make sure that the chunks are at least as bittersweet as the base to avoid losing the flavor.

The swirl was made by the same method as the jam for the peanut butter ice cream except I added some port wine. The recipe below works really well if you intend to make a jam for more than just the ice cream. Unfortunately, once incorporated into the ice cream, the port flavor is pretty much lost. Next time I make the jam, I will make it “ice cream friendly” as opposed to “eat by itself friendly” and increase the port to at least one cup. Incidentally, I underestimated the berry ripeness. The original recipe was for the juice of half of a lemon and did not call for salt, but after tasting the finished product I need to add some ingredients to balance the sweetness of the jam. You may or may not need to add as much sugar, lemon juice, and/or salt. Also, as you can see from the picture I used Costco's house brand 10 year aged Tawny Port. You will do better with a less generic port. I felt that it was thin, too tannic, and lacked concentration.

For the Swirl:

18 oz blueberries
2 c sugar (adjust for berry sweetness)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt (optional)
½ cup tawny port

1. Rinse the berries.
2. Put the berries, sugar, port, and lemon juice and lemon zest into a saucepan. Stir frequently until the sugar becomes liquid.
3. Simmer this stuff for about 30 minutes. The temperature should eventually get to more than 224o F.
4. Remove from the heat and cool.

For the Chocolate Ice Cream:

2 cups cream
2 cups milk
¾ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
7 oz bittersweet chocolate cut into chunks (for the base)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate cut into small chunks to add during freezing.

1. Combine the cream, milk, and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan and heat to a bare simmer stirring occasionally.
2. Combine the egg yolks with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Beat until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture turns pale yellow.
3. Coarsely chop the chocolate.
4. Once the cream mixture is at ready, remove it from the heat.
5. Temper the eggs by mixing in a small amount of the cream, stir thoroughly, and repeat three times. You should use about 1/3 of a cup of hot cream mixture in total. Then pour the complete egg mixture into the cream pot.
6. Return the pot to the heat and stir constantly until the custard reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Remove the pot from the heat. And add the chocolate. Stir until the contents are completely melted. If you are having problems getting the chocolate to melt, you may return the pot to the heat very briefly.
8. Stir in the vanilla extract
9. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
10. Cover the bowl and chill overnight.
11. The next day, freeze the custard in your ice cream machine. During the last minute of the freezing process, drop in spoonfuls of the jam and the chocolate chunks.


Lauren said...

After the tasting this afternoon, I am wowed. I didn't vote for this flavor because I wasn't sure about the combo of blueberries with chocolate, but it was delicious.

The chocolate chunks didn't add much for flavor (which perhaps could be improved with a different chocolate) but were great for texture. I agree that there could be more blueberry flavor and the port flavor was lost. However, the chocolate ice cream base was outstanding. The color of the berries added a lot too. Overall, thumbs up but a bit of tweaking to reach perfection.

Thanks for the delicious afternoon snack!

Phil said...

I am fortunate to be one of the volunteers invited to taste the Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips and Blueberry-Port Wine Swirl today, and it was a treat.

The ice cream is smooth and rich, but not too sweet and has an intense chocolate flavor from the bittersweet chocolate (actually a very good chocolate ice cream); however, as the Ice Cream Fellow himself noted the Port Wine flavor was lost in the swirl, as was any noticeable flavor of blueberries or of the chocolate chips, for that matter. The swirl was pleasant tasting enough and along with the chocolate chips added an interesting counterpoint texture to the ice cream.

I’m sure with a little work on the swirl to bring out more of the blueberry and port flavors and perhaps adding a chocolate chip that’s a bit sweeter might be helpful.

An added treat was getting to sample the Jack and Ginger Ice Cream (recipe posted on May 2) which was fantastic!!

Overall for the Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips and Blueberry-Port Wine Swirl (Scale of 1-5)
Flavor (ice cream) 5; (blueberry swirl) 2
Texture: 5
Originality: 5
Overall: 4.25

Overall for the Jack and Ginger Ice Cream (Scale of 1-5)
Flavor: 4.5 (good, but more ginger than ginger ale)
Texture: 5
Originality 5
Overall: 4.83

Ice Cream Fellow said...

Lauren and Phil are both absolutely correct about the flavors. The chocolate ice cream was spectacular, but it was overpowering. I should have used a semi-sweet chocolate base and concentrated the flavors of the blueberries and port more. Even with these changes I would still use the bittersweet chocolate chunks.