Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chocolate Chile Ice Cream

With the Summer heat finally loosening its grip, what better time to make a creamy, frozen treat with a bit of a kick.

Adapted from Rick Bayless "Mexico, One Plate At a Time" PBS series.

The first step is to make the chile infusion. Remove the stem and seeds from one or two large, dried pasilla negro chiles. Over medium heat, toast the chiles, pressing it flat against the skillet with a metal spatula until it is very aromatic—about 10 seconds per side.

Place the chile in a small saucepan, add 1 1/3 cups of half-and-half, 2 ounces of Mexican chocolate and 3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. Heat over medium until steaming (but not boiling).

Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, then pour into a blender jar and process until the chile is pureed.

Whisk together 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar until thoroughly combined, then whisk in the chile-infused chocolate mixture.

Devise a double boiler. Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat then reduce the temperature under the pot to maintain a gentle simmer. Pour the chocolate mixture into the double boiler top and place on pot of simmering water.

Wisk the mixture frequently, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens noticeably to a custard consistency, about 5 minutes.

The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard: if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.

To cool the base, fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle a smaller bowl into the ice and pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture until it is completely cool. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Finally, it is time to freeze the ice cream. Stir in 1 1/3 cup of heavy cream, 1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of KahlĂșa into the base. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.

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