This is a grown up ice cream, which is not to say my sons didn't get chocolate moustaches (and beards, fingers, hands and shirts) from eating this out of sugar cones as children, because they did, but moreover to give you a sense of this ice cream's elegant civility. Bright and perky it isn't.
It is densely aromatic, less of milk and more of cocoa bean. It has a musky darkness that rumbles low like a mumur in the back of your throat. The suggestion of bitter, balanced sweetness is mentioned first by chocolate, then the cocoa, then again with the burnt edge of caramel. It's the best kind of companionship amongst them, equal collaborators to the whole.
It is weighty, on the palate and upon the tongue; straight out of the freezer it is like cold fudge, as it melts, it's hard to describe — reminiscent of pudding, although more velvety than that.
200g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids, chopped
6 large egg yolks
115g caster sugar
500ml whole milk
40g cocoa powder
For the caramel
70g caster sugar
50ml double cream
Make the chocolate custard. Place the chocolate in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted, then remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, whisk the milk and cocoa powder over medium heat together until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Set aside.
Prepare an ice bath and set a bowl in it.
In another bowl with a whisk, electric beater or stand mixture, beat the eggs and sugar together until the colour has lightened and the mixture is thick, around 5 minutes. At this stage, the mixture should fall back upon itself in a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. Whisking constantly, pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture in a thin, steady stream. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk in the melted chocolate.
Cook over a low heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. This should take around 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the caramel. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue to boil, without stirring, until the sugar turns a deep amber caramel, around 5 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cream. Slowly and carefully whisk the caramel into the chocolate custard base. Once fully incorporated, strain the custard through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl over the ice bath. Stir occasionally until the custard is cool, then cover and chill in the fridge for 2 days.
Freeze the custard base in an ice cream machine as per manufacturer's instruction. Once churned, transfer to a clean container, cover and freeze for 3 days to allow the flavours to develop.
British double cream has a butterfat content of about 48%. Lacking that, I used a 35% cream without difficulty or complaint. Caster sugar is also sold as superfine sugar.