There is something about home-made ice-cream that makes you prefer it over a bought one. It’s not only because you are in charge of the ingredients you put in it (you can control the amount of sugar, change the fat content, balance the flavours according to your taste, nothing to say of choosing only high-quality products) but also because you generally add your love and care to that custard before putting it into the freezer. Indeed, this desert is not so easy to make (since you have to bother with cooking it in a double boiler for a while, with a heavy mixer in your hands) but it has a great advantage over other custard-based desserts: once you make it, you can keep it in the freezer for as long as three months (in fact, it keeps that long only if you don’t tell anyone about it), so you can enjoy it anytime and, besides, it will serve as a great “saving dish” in case of unexpected guests.
I’ve started to make ice-cream at home less than a year ago. Let me make it clear from the beginning: I don’t have any ice-cream machine which means that I have “to outsmart my freezer” to make the final result as creamy as possible. I’ve discovered that it’s a nice thing to put some liquor or rum in the custard (the alcohol acts as antifreeze), so the ice-cream does not set rock solid. Another trick – dividing the mixture among small, individual cups. It is actually quite convenient as you will get your ice-cream portioned and it’s easier to work on presentation once you want to serve it – the perfect shape looks astonishing on the plate and needs minimum decoration.
This year I’ve experimented with a lot with different flavours but there is one ice-cream that I keep making again and again (as soon as I notice that there is only one or two cups of it left in the freezer, I make a new batch) – that is chocolate ice-cream with Baileys. No wonder, I should say – who doesn’t like chocolate? Only those who don’t like ice cream as well, I suppose. So, this dessert is definitely a winner!
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence
120 ml heavy cream
120 ml milk
75 ml Baileys
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar till pale and thick.
- Make a paste with cocoa, cream and milk. Stir in vanilla and bring it to just below the boiling point (the bubbles will start to appear on the surface). Pour the mixture over the beaten yolks, whisking constantly. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook till it thickens (about 5 – 10 minutes). Place the bowl in a larger bowl, filled with ice, and continue to whisk till the mixture cools down. Stir in the melted chocolate and 2 tbsp of the liquor. Strain the mixture and divide between five 100ml plastic cups, filling them to 4/5 of their height. Cover the cups and place in the freezer.
- A few hours later, when the ice-cream just starts to set, cut 5 circles out of the sponge cake (the same size as your plastic cups). Pour the remaining liquor in a bowl. Dip each of the sponge rounds into the liquor and put it on the top of each portion of your ice-cream, pressing slightly.
- To serve, run a sharp knife around the edges of a sponge to loosen it a bit. Dip the plastic cup in a bowl with hot water for 1 second and invert the ice-cream on a plate. Garnish with chocolate and nuts.
- Use only fresh organic eggs for making the ice-cream.
- You may use either electric mixer or a balloon whisk to cook the custard. Just keep whisking all the time.
- If you want to reduce the amount of alcohol in each portion, don’t make the sponge base: you can’t but soak it in the liquor, otherwise it’ll become rock solid in the freezer.