Nigella, Nutella and the Ice Cream That Isn't
I bought my ice cream maker back in high school, as an ambitious undertaking after being swayed by the pretty pictures of that year’s Williams-Sonoma catalog. I promised my family gorgeous frozen desserts all summer long - flavors you couldn’t find in the grocery store, real cream, no preservatives. And then that summer I got the mono that threatens your spleen. Getting out of bed became a huge accomplishment for the day, and if I even thought about eating, someone else was making it. Somewhere along the way, the ice cream maker was thrust into the back of my closet.
Last year I unearthed it while packing and I’m slowly making up for lost time. I like the flexibility in personalizing and the greater option of flavor choices; I don’t especially like having to plan ahead to pre-chill the bowl in the freezer (newer models may not require this forethought, mine’s been around for a few). So I’m often still seduced by pre-packaged pints at the grocery store, but lately I’ve come across enough delectable sounding recipes to tempt me to start churning.
This one in particular has been haunting me for about a week and it was high time I did something about it. I’m a sucker for hazelnut, especially combined with chocolate, and its coming from Nigella didn’t hurt either. Regretfully, I express a touch of doubt at the final product, in that it wasn't at all what I expected. It’s delicious, but it’s not the texture of ice cream – more of a frozen mousse or the interior of a truffle, rich, dense, and creamy, but none of ice cream's meltiness. I don’t know if it was me or Nigella, but I think the measurement of Nutella called for is somehow off. I measured the spread as best I could (at most I’m a tablespoon over, which shouldn't make such a difference), but I don’t have as much left over as I should. It’s also not as dark as I imagined, and I might try next time adding a pinch of salt to bring out the chocolate flavor. The base is a bit different from my usual one, with no milk and only egg yolks, and perhaps that accounts for some of the variance as well. I’d make it again as is, but I’d also make it again striving for more of an ice cream than this decided to be.
FROZEN GIANDUIA MOUSSE
adapted from Nigella Lawson's Baci Ice Cream, in Forever Summer
4 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar
2 1/4 c heavy cream
4 oz dark bittersweet chocolate (70% or more)
2 Tbsp Droste cocoa powder
3/4 c plus 2-3 Tbsp Nutella
1 Tbsp hazelnut syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and creamy (the mixture will be pale yellow and will not feel gritty anymore). Bring the cream to a boil and add it to the yolks, pouring very slowly and whisking well as you do so.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave according to directions and let it cool slightly. Whisk the chocolate and then the cocoa powder into the yolks and cream. Pour the chocolate-custard mix into a pan and cook on a low to moderate heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and beginning to thicken just slightly (about five minutes). Pour into a bowl or wide pitcher to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin on top.
When the mixture has cooled, whisk in the Nutella, then the hazelnut syrup and vanilla. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to your model's directions.
Yield: about 1 qt.