About this time every summer, I start experimenting with ice cream recipes. A few years ago, I tried to recreate a lime cilantro sorbet that I tried while at a conference. (Never got that one quite right.) Then there was the year that I had blueberry pie ice cream at Graeter’s, and spent the next several weeks figuring out how to make it. (Aced it and shared here!) This summer’s project: dark chocolate gelato.
When I was in Nafplio, Greece, earlier this summer, I had a wonderfully rich bowl of dark chocolate gelato while walking around a crowded nighttime square. It was darker than any gelato that I’ve had before, and it was hard to find a recipe that had enough chocolate depth to match. I finally had success with one from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto (a great gift from Laura a few years ago). And because dark chocolate gelato clearly isn’t decadent enough on its own, I borrowed the caramel sauce from this recipe and added a salted caramel ribbon. Enjoy!
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup heavy cream, separated
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% or higher), broken up
- 4 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup + 6 tbs. sugar, separated
- sea salt
- For the gelato base: In a large saucepan, combine the milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges. Stir it occasionally, and don't let it boil.
- When the mixture reaches 170 F, remove it from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.
- Very slowly, pour the hot chocolate cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking the whole time so that the yolks don't cook. Once the custard mixture is smooth, return it to the saucepan.
- Heat the custard over low heat, stirring frequently, until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 185 F. Be sure that it doesn't boil. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, stirring every five minutes or so, and then refrigerate overnight.
- An hour before churning the gelato, make the caramel sauce: Bring the last 1/2 cup cream to room temperature. Place 2 tbs. sugar in the bottom of a large skillet, and heat over medium. When the sugar starts to melt, add another 2 tbs, swirling the pan. When that sugar melts, add the last 2 tbs of sugar. Swirl the pan mix the melting sugar, and keep heating until the sugar syrup caramalizes and turns medium brown.
- Add the cream and 2 tbs. water to the pan, stirring - but stand back because it will splatter! Stir with a heatproof spatula or spoon and bring to a simmer. Once the mixture simmers, remove it from the heat and cool completely to room temperature.
- To assemble the gelato: Run the gelato base through an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. When the gelato is finished, layer it in a container with the caramel sauce, sprinkling a pinch or two of salt on top of each layer of caramel. Gelato, caramel, gelato, caramel, gelato, caramel...you get the idea.
- Freeze the gelato for 6 hours or overnight, before serving.