White chocolate ice cream is a particular favourite of mine, so when I recently got a copy of ice cream BIBLE, Ice creams, sorbets & gelati: The definitive guide by Caroline and Robin Weir, I looked up their version straightaway.
The book has the most beautiful ice cream recipes and contains careful explanation of how to make them – the Weirs don’t cut corners. But when it came to white chocolate ice cream, even they were cautionary, because it’s not easy to get a full white chocolate flavour in the finished ice cream.
After a conversation or two with D, I found that he loves mint choc chip. So since he’s my chief taster (and I love mint choc chip too), I adapted the white chocolate ice cream recipe to make a double choc mint choc chip, if you follow me? I followed the recipe method carefully, substituting a little more whole milk and 250ml of Hurdlebrook extra thick, untreated Guernsey cream, which was the colour of primroses, thick and delicious.
I added a scant two drops of Summerdown English peppermint oil (£4.50 plus postage) I had in the cupboard – a lovely oil recommended in the guardian by baking columnist Dan Lepard. Big choc chips in ice cream are frozen hard making them difficult to taste, so I followed the Weirs’ advice for stracciatella and whizzed milk chocolate into bits in my Magimix. You could also chop it nice and fine, if you like.
The resulting ice cream is below and it worked beautifully. As I was taking these photos a spoon hovered impatiently just out of shot. He even went and bought me an ice cream scoop so I’d hurry up and take these pictures, allowing him to carry on eating the batch. Cook’s tip: bribe with homemade cream.
This white chocolate ice cream is blended with a drop or two of peppermint oil and fine chips of milk chocolate. The basic recipe for white chocolate ice cream is adapted from page 134 of Ice creams, sorbets & gelati: The definitive guide by Caroline and Robin Weir.
170g (6 and half oz) white chocolate with at least 25% cocoa butter/solids
4 egg yolks
150g (5 and a quarter oz) unrefined granulated sugar
500ml (16 fl oz) double cream – I use half extra thick Guernsey cream and half ordinary double cream
An extra 100ml (3ish fl oz) double cream (to add at the end)
250ml (8 fl oz) whole milk
150g milk chocolate, chilled in the fridge
2 drops of peppermint oil – I use Summerdown Farms English Peppermint Oil
If you’re using an ice cream maker, place the machine base into the freezer at least 24 hours before you plan on churning your ice cream. I used a simple (and cheap at £24.50) Kenwood model.
Melt the white chocolate
Melt the white chocolate chunks in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth then remove straightaway from the heat.
Whisk the eggs and sugar. Heat the milk and cream.
Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar in a large bowl. The mixture should be pale and thick enough to leave a ribbon when you trail a beater above the surface. An electric whisk does the job quickest.
Meanwhile, bring the 500ml of cream and 250ml of whole milk to just below boiling point in a heavy non-reactive pan. Pour roughly half this hot creamy mixture into the egg and sugar, whisking constantly. Now pour the other half of the hot milk and cream into the chocolate, whisking until well-blended.
Stir the custard
Now for the careful bit – I find an electric thermometer indispensable for this. Take an extra precaution by filling your sink a quarter full with cold water and chucking in a few ice cubes, if you have them. This will cool the pan and stop the custard cooking as soon as it hits the right temperature.
Return both mixtures together to the saucepan and heat slowly, stirring constantly. Caroline and Robin Weir suggest using a heat-diffuser mat, but I find that by using a thermometer I can keep an eye on the temperature and prevent the mixture curdling, which it will do if it overheats (no pressure here then).
Stir and keep your thermometer somewhere in the mix (off the bottom of the pan) until the mixture reaches 85 degrees centigrade (185 degrees fahrenheit). As soon as it reaches that temperature, take the pan off the heat and plunge the base into your sink of cold water.
Chill the custard and whizz up the chocolate
Leave the custard to cool in a jug, stirring occasionally. Once cool, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge. Now, chop your chocolate chips. I find it best to whizz the chunks of chilled chocolate in a food processor. Place the choc chips into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and return to the fridge until needed.
Churn the ice cream and freeze
Add the remaining 100ml of double cream to the mixture along with a couple of drops of peppermint oil. Be very very cautious with this, because it will quickly drown out all other flavours if you use too much.
Churn the ice cream in the machine (switching on the paddle before pouring in the chilled mixture). I churn for around half an hour then add the chocolate bits while the paddle is still going – just for a couple of minutes until they combine.
Freeze overnight, or, the Weirs say, for at least four hours. Once it’s frozen, you will need to soften the ice cream a little before serving.