Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chocolate cubed

My husband and I never go out to dinner for Valentine's Day. I'll be honest, I hate people and he hates crowds. Restaurants are flooded with people on Valentine's Day. The wait for a table is ridiculous. You're lucky if you can even get a reservation. To quote news anchors on inauguration day, the restaurants become a sea of humanity. Not exactly what we'd describe as a good time. So we stay home, and I cook something "special." Special meaning the meal is something I normally wouldn't make during the week, and all dietary concerns are forgotten.

This year I had a hard time deciding what to make for dessert. Then I watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina made a chocolate gelato. I watched Ina prepare the gelato and I drooled. I had to make it for our Valentine's Day dinner.

The recipe calls for not one, not two, but three types of chocolate; bittersweet, unsweetened cocoa powder, and Baci chocolates. And the deliciousness doesn't stop there, it also calls for Kahlua - my favourite liquer. The gelato is decadent, creamy, and down right delicious. I'm drooling a little thinking about...

Deeply Chocolate Gelato
Courtesy of Ina Garten


2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp Kahlua
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Large pinch kosher salt
8 Baci chocolates, roughly chopped, optional


Heat the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.

Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. A candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees F. Don't allow the mixture to boil!

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the coffee liqueur, vanilla, and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.

Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate, if using, and freeze in covered containers. Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving.

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