With this crazy winter we've been having over the past few weeks in NY, it feels like V-day has really crept up on us out of nowhere. Can you believe it's this upcoming Saturday? Neither could I until I saw different shades of red and pink taking over my Instagram account last week. It looks like I forgot all about it (again) but hey. There's still a full week before the big day and that's plenty of time to bake up, or in this case, freeze up, something tasty and special to share with someone special.
With all the messy winter weather we've been having, enjoying a scoop of ice cream may be the last thing on your mind. I don't blame you- I'm craving warm, comforting dishes all the time now, but even so, personally, I don't think I'll ever be able to refuse a bowl of that creamy frozen goodness. Even in the dead of winter, ice cream is still one of my top choices for dessert and comfort food in general. It makes me feel like a kid again, and homemade ice cream is always a special treat. It's creamier and richer than any ice cream you'll buy in the store, and if you make it yourself, the flavor combinations are endless. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, a white chocolate and raspberry ice cream couldn't be a more fitting flavor for the occasion.
Since making my first Jeni's ice cream at home, I've been using her eggless ice cream base almost exclusively, both when I follow her recipes and any time I make up my own flavor combinations. The fact that it's eggless makes it hassle-free, and I love the creamy chewiness the ice cream has once it's done. Last weekend, however, I found myself in a situation where I had five leftover egg yolks (from making THIS fancy cake!) and since yolks don't last anywhere near as long as egg whites, I had to use them up somehow. Ice cream was an obvious choice, and the first ice cream I thought of was David Lebovotiz's white chocolate ice cream. I had spotted the recipe months earlier, and for whatever reason, I never got around to making it. Since I was armed with the exact number of yolks I needed and happened to conveniently have a few bars of white chocolate at home, now was the time to make it.
This egg-based ice cream is no more difficult to make than an egg-free one. It just takes a little more care, since you don't want to scramble the yolks as you pour in the hot sweetened milk, but aside from that, it's simple as can be. Milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt are warmed up in a saucepan, and then very slowly added to whisked egg yolks. You'll want to whisk the yolks the whole time you're adding the hot milk; by adding it in a very gradual stream, you'll prevent the yolks from scrambling. The hot mixture is then added back to the saucepan and heated until it thickens up into a smooth custard. You'll know it's ready when the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon and you can drag your finger across without the custard spreading back. When it's ready, the custard is poured through a sieve into a bowl of chopped white chocolate. The chocolate melts, cream is stirred in, and the bowl is placed into an ice bath. Once the custard has cooled, it's left to chill in the fridge until very cold. The custard is then frozen in your ice cream maker, and layered with a simple raspberry sauce in a freezer-safe container to freeze. When it's frozen, you'll be in for a treat!
This ice cream is oh-so-special. The white chocolate adds even more richness to the already rich ice cream, and the ruby-red raspberry sauce adds a touch of elegance and a slight tartness that balances out the sweetness of the ice cream. Not to mention that it makes the ice cream look beautiful! In the end, I was happy that I got to switch up my normal ice cream making routine and use a traditional custard. I had almost forgotten how tasty they were! The best part of this ice cream (and well, any other ice cream), is that you obviously have to make it in advance. You can whip it up during the week and be perfectly ready for Valentine's Day with with a homemade, decadent, and extra special dessert for your extra special someone. Enjoy!
White Chocolate and Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream
recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz
For the Ice Cream
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
For the Raspberry Swirl
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup sugar
Begin with the raspberry sauce. Combine the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook the berries until they break down and begin to boil; let the berries boil for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly, then press the berries through a sieve. Discard the solids, and chill the sauce in the fridge. The sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to use.
Add the chopped chocolate to a large bowl and place a sieve on top; set aside. In a saucepan set over medium heat, warm the milk, sugar, and salt. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks in a gradual stream, making sure to whisk constantly. Pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the saucepan as you go. Stir until the custard has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Pour the hot custard through the sieve into the bowl with the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two, and then stir to melt the chocolate completely. Stir in the cream. Set the bowl with the ice cream base into an bath and stir until cool.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until very cold. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. To add the swirl, layer the raspberry sauce with the ice cream into a freezer-sage container, beginning and ending with the raspberry sauce. Don't swirl the two together with a knife, or the ice cream will turn muddy. Add a sheet of wax paper to the top, and seal the container. Freeze the ice cream until hard, at least 6 hours. Enjoy!
Makes 1 quart ice cream