Pairing beer and ice cream has become a summer obsession of mine. But before you start imagining decidedly unappealing combinations of IPA and a scoop of strawberry, let me explain. Dark beers such as stouts and porters with their rich, malty flavors are absolutely fantastic when matched with a dark chocolate or creamy vanilla ice cream, or even better in the same glass as a float. It's one of those combos that might not immediately bowl you over on paper, but don't knock it until you try it.
This Chocolate Stout Gelato from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto takes beer and ice cream to the next level by freezing them together. The chocolate base from Ciao Bella is spectacular on its own, especially when made with a dark chocolate, such as Le Noir Amer from Valrhona—creamy, light, and incredibly chocolaty. But when you add a cup of stout that has been simmered down to intensify its flavors and a scoop or two of malt powder, this gelato will send any chocolate and beer lover into fits of ice cream-derived delight.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto to give away this week.
- Chocolate Base:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 60% cacao), finely chopped
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Chocolate Stout Gelato
- 1 1/2 cups stout beer, such as Guinness
- 2 tablespoons malt powder
For the Chocolate Base: In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chopped chocolate, and stir or whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture, whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185°F. Do not bring to a boil.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the Chocolate Stout Gelato: Pour the beer into a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, watching the pan carefully so the beer doesn’t boil over (take the pan off the heat immediately if it starts to bubble quickly and rise to the top). Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool completely. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Gently whisk the reduced beer and the malt powder into the base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.