Monday, August 11, 2014

Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Julia Child once said that French cooking was the most important cuisine to master because the techniques could be transferred to any other global cuisine. Since I read that over two years ago, I have found it to be profoundly true. 

Recently, I have been experimenting with dairy-free ice cream making. Most dairy-free recipes dictate a custard preparation: eggs whisked with sugar, tempering with hot almond milk, cooking until thickened, and then chilling for several hours. Unfortunately, this method is both time consuming and grossly ineffective and yielding a creamy rather than icy dessert. Plus, it never really thickens like a dairy-based custard would.

So, I decided to experiment with the method for mayonnaise, egg yolks whisked with oil, as the base for my ice cream. Julia was right. It worked like a charm for producing a viscous, creamy dessert. Bonus, it was much faster than the custard route. And, if you think about it, traditional dairy-based ice creams are often made with half and half. The fat is so important for yielding the tongue-coating creaminess and soft texture characteristic of dairy ice cream.  

Using coconut oil yields a German chocolate flavor. However, if you prefer a more straightforward chocolate taste, use macadamia or another relatively flavorless oil. You may also choose to substitute vanilla extract in place of the coffee. 

Yields 1 pint
4 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate, at least 75 percent cacao
2 egg yolks*
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
*if consuming raw eggs concerns you, choose pasteurized eggs

1. Melt the dark chocolate over very low heat in a heavy-bottomed skillet until nearly melted. Remove from heat. 
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, coffee, and sea salt until slightly thickened. Slowly pour in the coconut oil a droplet at a time, whisking constantly.
3. Continue adding the coconut oil until it is completely incorporated. The mixture should beautifully thick by now.
4. Add the palm sugar and ½ cup of almond milk to the chocolate and whisk until thoroughly integrated. It will also be fairly thick.
5. Slowly incorporate the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
6. Pour in the remaining cup of almond milk.
7. Immediately, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and allow to churn for about 20 minutes, or until thick and voluminous. 

8. Enjoy immediately, or freeze in a covered container. 

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