Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Many would agree that there are few foods as seductive as good, dark chocolate. Combine that with ice cream and it can become an almost out-of-the-world treat. I especially enjoy dark chocolate ice cream when I am feeling down, or am in a pensive mood. I like it served on its own, as that allows me to fully appreciate the full flavours of the dark chocolate. Not that it does not go well with waffles, souffles, cakes and other desserts.

The ice cream recipe I used is adapted from Pierre Herme’s Chocolate Desserts. He wrote about how good chocolate ice cream should never be made with cocoa powder, but with real dark chocolate. He doesn’t believe in using custards in chocolate ice creams as the yolks interfere with the rich flavour of the dark chocolate. Hence, chocolate ice creams are made using the Philadelphia method. After tasting the ice cream, I must say that I agree with his conclusions. Each spoonful was pure chocolate and it was sheer delight.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes 3/4 litres
Adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermes

1/3 cup powdered milk
3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
8 ounces Valrhona Manjari 64%, finely chopped


  1. Place the powdered milk in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and gradually whisk in the whole milk.
  2. When the powdered milk is dissolved, whisk in the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Stir in the chocolate and bring it to the boil again.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and pour it into a small bowl. Place the small bowl in a larger bowl filled with water and ice-cubes.
  5. Keep the chocolate over ice, stirring frequently until it reaches room temperature.
  6. Churn the ice cream in an ice-cream maker.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

My dear husband bought me an ice-cream maker for my birthday in November and since then, we’ve been making our own ice-cream rather than buying them. Our old ice-cream maker required us to pre-freeze the bowl for 24 hours before using it, and the products that it yielded weren’t quite smooth and satisfying. This new one came with a chiller and I no longer have to pre-freeze the bowl. Definitely a welcomed improvement. Moreover, it yields smooth and creamy ice-creams!

The recipe below for vanilla bean ice-cream is adapted from “The Perfect Scoop”, one of my favourite ice-cream recipe books. The rich flavour of this ice-cream goes well with many other desserts. I served this with my maple pecan tart. The guests all asked for more! Though the flavour is creamy and rich, this ice-cream is made using the Philadelphia method, which does not involve the making of a custard. It is quicker and easier on your hips.

For this recipe, I substituted vanilla beans with vanilla bean paste. I love Nielsen Massey’s vanilla bean paste as it is extremely fragrant and convenient. One tablespoon of it packs the same punch as a vanilla bean. Also, remember to use pure vanilla extract and not vanilla essence. They are miles different in terms of their taste and flavour.

Vanilla Bean Ice-cream
Makes 1 litre
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup low fat milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste
3/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Pour 1 cup of cream into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and salt and vanilla bean paste.
  2. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and mix in the remaining 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze the mixture in your ice-cream maker.

Lemon Basil Sherbet

What does one do when she has four lemons leftover in the fridge? Think of a dessert to make with them, of course. I came across the recipe below as I was flipping through Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert. The heading “lemon-basil sherbet” immediately appealed to me because I had two pots of basil growing crazily on the ledge of my corridor. They definitely needed trimming. I made some small changes to the recipe in the book. The recipe (with my changes) is shared below.

The result was a thoroughly refreshing dessert. It was very tangy of course, with some hint of sweetness. The fragrance of the basil definitely came through. A perfect treat on a hot day.

Lemon Basil Sherbet
(Serves 10)

3/4 cup of lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of basil leaves
4 cups of milk
1 tbsp grated lemon zest


  1. Mix together sugar, lemon juice and basil leaves in a medium bowl. Let it sit for at least one hour, up to three hours.
  2. Stir the milk into the lemon juice mixture. The mixture will curdle a little. Strain the mixture, pressing on the basil leaves. Discard the leaves.
  3. Add the lemon zest and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a shallow tray and freeze till hard, about 4 hours.
  5. Break up the chunks of frozen mixture and process in a food processor until smooth.
  6. Freeze again till hard, at least four to five hours.
  7. If the sherbet is too hard to scoop, let it stand for a few minutes after removing from freezer.