Baby, it’s cold outside. Almost no matter where you live, this is one cold winter.
It may actually be too cold for ice cream. That is heresy to me, but right now it is the way I feel.
So I’m making warm ice cream. Or, to put it another way, I’m making a custard or crème anglaise. That’s the mixture that becomes ice cream when frozen. But I’m not freezing it today. I’m eating it warm.
When cooks began making ice cream back in the 17th century, they basically took the recipes they’d been using to make creams and custards and froze them.
So why not reverse the process and take the recipes we’ve been using for ice cream and make creams and custards? The process is the same. You just stop before freezing. So, instead of cooking the mixture and then freezing it, you simply cook it until it thickens and then cool it down a little. It makes a lush, comforting dessert for a cold winter’s night.
When you make it, be sure to stir it slowly over low heat and inhale deeply as you stir. The warmth and the fragrance of coffee and cocoa will make you feel almost as good as eating it will.
Here’s my recipe for a mocha (ice) cream. Maybe it will start a warming trend.
Mocha cream. Or ice cream.
One-third cup of your favorite coffee beans – caf or decaf
3 cups half and half
4 egg yolks
Two-thirds cup sugar
One-third cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
Combine coffee beans with half and half in a saucepan and bring almost to boiling point. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 or 20 minutes.
In another saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in cocoa.
Strain the coffee beans out of the cream mixture. Stir a small amount of the cream into the egg, sugar and cocoa mixture, then gradually stir in the rest. When it’s all incorporated, place pan over low heat and cook, stirring gently, until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. Don’t let it come to a boil.
When it has thickened, pour it into a serving bowl or individual bowls and let it cool. It will thicken a little more as it cools. You can put it in the refrigerator to chill or simply serve it warm.
Top with a cloud of whipped cream if you like. Enjoy.
(If the weather warms up, you can use the recipe to make ice cream. Just chill the mixture after cooking it, then put it in your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.)