Not a winter dessert

Someone once told me that the best time to eat ice-cream was not summer - but winter. When the lovely, creamy scoop stays the way it is. When the heat doesn't melt the confection rendering the waffle cone soggy. When you can actually savour each bite and are in no rush to finish the cone in your hand lest it melts into a puddle and onto your hands and eventually clothes. Is the sticky mess you might end up with really worth the ice cream? On the other hand - Who eats ice cream in the winter? Ice cream in winter is especially good at midnight snuggled in a blanket - when you have a radiator on one side and an ice cream on the other. 

For years, we have been conditioned to eat hot in cold and cold in hot. Laughed at the idea of eating icecream in winter. Seriously - its cold right?  How can you eat ice cream? Entertaining the possibility of eating ice cream in winter goes against that conditioning -  not something my mind accepted easily - but that little child in me  wanted to reach out and grab a waffle cone. It's a small thing - it's icecream after all - but it taught me something. It taught me what business schools are regulary harping on about - out of the box. It's a small step - miniscule really - but somehow compelling. Sometimes, doing something new, something different, may be good. Even exciting.

* Having said all this, I still don't recommend eating icecream regularly in winters. Hot foods are still the way to go. But consider it. Try it once. It may not make you feel 'literally' warm inside but you'll feel all grown up.

If I have not put you to sleep with all that talk on self discovery, I'll get to the icecream. Icecream making can be very complicated for the unitiated; if you haven't grown up churning ice cream every summer and your routine instead was to walk to the store every second day of summer vacation and buy pre packed icecream; if don't have a churner (I don't have one); and if you are new to the idea of using eggs for the dessert (Eggs? in ice cream? What??) - it can even be intimidating. There all the shortcuts of course - this chemical, that chemical - but what's 'homemade' in that?

This recipe comes by way of the blog A CUP OF JO and the author's 'Best of' series. Th good thing is this recipe comes out just the way it's described - rich, dark, creamy. Even better - you don't need to churn it, there are no eggs, and all you have to do is stir and whisk.

Rich Chocolate (Fudge) Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from A CUP OF JO (which is Inspired by Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer)

You need -

2 cans sweetened condensed milk (2X400 gm)
350 gms (close to 400 ml) whole milk
350 gms fresh cream
340 dark chocolate (44% or 70% dark)
50 gms cocoa powder - sifted
1 tsp instant coffe powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
24 gms (6-8 tsps) cornflower dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water*

* About the cornflour - go easy on this - I added the whole suggested quantity and a bit more because I felt my mixture wan't thickening - but realised soon enough that I added too much and my ice cream turned to fudge - delicious (hot or cold) but very very dense to scoop. I suggest you stop when the mix evenly coats the back of a spoon and is slightly thickened - but I think it may be a matter of practice.

Makes about 1.5 L - enough to feed a party of 8.

To make the Ice Cream -

1. In a large heavy bottomed pan (preferably non-stick) mix the condensed milk,  milk and cream until combined with a balloon whisk. Put the pan over medium heat till the mixture comes to a boil. 2. Meanwhile break the chocolate into small pieces or chop finely.
3. Once the mixture has boiled, take it off the heat and add the chocolate, cocoa, coffee powder, vanilla and salt. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate melts and the cocoa powder dissolves.
4. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour and cold water till the cornflour dissolves and stir this into the ice cream base (above).
5. Again place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping the sides and the bottom every 3-4 minutes. The mixture starts to thicken as it cooks - cook this for not more than 10 minutes.
6. Transfer icecream to another large bowl and set aside, uncovered, to cool for half an hour. If a skin has formed on top, use a hand held electric mixer for 2 mins to break up any lumps. When the mixture has cooled completely cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly for 4-8 hours in the refrigerator.
7.  Transfer the mixture to a large glass bowl (or plastic). Cover it with cling film/plastic wrap pressing the it against the ice cream to create an airtight seal. Cover this with a lid or a plate (as an additional layer and freeze until firm enough to scoop - about 4-8 hours.



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