Chocolate flavoured whipped cream doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But what if I say that this chocolate whipped cream is frozen and somehow meant to be ice cream.
The process of making this imposter ice cream is quite lovely. It feels like you are doing something good, something exciting. With the heart-stopping quantities of cream required it surely is going to be the most lush of desserts, you think to yourself. Firstly, you whip the cream until quite thick – “slovenly folds” as Nigel Slater wrote. Then mix through some icing sugar and a drop or two of vanilla essence. You place the cream in a shallow container in the freezer for 30 minutes or until a sort of thin, icy crust begins to form at the edges.
Meanwhile, melt chunks of chocolate with a slosh more cream in a bain-marie. Once glistening and luxuriously smooth, let cool. Remove the cream from the freezer and place in a bowl, add the chocolate. Begin to fold through; rich dark streaks swirling through the white. Until they swirl no more. The cold cream has in fact hardened the chocolate into grainy, pebbley bits. You must smash through the mix with a fork. Return the chocolate cream to the freezer for a few hours. At this point I had a few doubts.
Eating the frozen chocolate cream is what I imagine eating cold sand could be like. Your spoon seems to ricochet off the many minuscule ice shards. It does not delicately curl the contours of your spoon, nor does it tenderly roll through the contours of your mouth. The fine grains of hard chocolate and the tangy taste of cream and the bitterness of dark chocolate jar and clash. It is not the sort of cream to hold on your tongue and allow the flavours to introduce themselves, like the freshness of raspberry or lemon ice cream, or the pleasing familarity of vanilla or strawberry. Instead, you are left with the kind of discomfort that comes from too much chocolate and cream, a head or a stomach discomfort I can never be sure, but either way, you need a lie down.
I had grand ideas for this post. I was going to write about the day I bought this little book for €5 from a stationary shop in Annecy, France. I was going to begin with a description of the weather – a clear and crisp day in late January, how we were wrapped up in hats, scarves, gloves and coats. I would have told you that my friend Ivan and I spent the day walking around the lake ripping off pieces of baguette and eating ham and Swiss gruyère from their paper wrappings. And that we had crêpes for afternoon tea with caramelised bananas, chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Afterwards we walked into the stationary shop and I probably picked up and put back down this petit livre several times. It is called Desserts with the sub title, trop bons. It all looks trop bons too; almond and pear tart, apple and red fruit torte, pears stuffed with figs and then wrapped in pastry, a red rice and sauteed grape risotto, apricot soufflé, tiramisu made with white chocolate and raspberries, peaches poached in Marsala, honey and banana ice cream and yoghurt and pistachio semifreddo. I could make it all.
And yet, of all the desserts, page 172 was selected: glace au chocolat. This post is my entry into the One Year Anniversary of Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipe Challenge, even though the recipe, or my execution of it, needs some serious work.
Glace au chocolat
Original recipe in French, translated par moi
I am wondering if mixing through the chocolate before freezing would have produced better results.
2 tablespoons milk
50g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons cream
Beat the cream and the milk until thick- not so much that peaks form but just softly whipped. Incorporate the icing sugar and the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and place for 30 minutes in the freezer, until the ice begins to take the outer edges.
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie with the second measure of cream. Heat until the mixture is combined then let cool.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and pour the cream into a bowl. Incorporate the chocolate and work énergiquement with a fork. Pour the chocolate cream back into the plastic container, cover and place back in the freezer. Remove the ice cream from the freezer 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with chocolate sauce.