Ethan and I aren't afraid to admit our feelings about white chocolate. We're big fans, and if our last white chocolate ice cream didn't prove it, this one should.
White chocolate, of course, isn't chocolate. It's comparisons to the dark stuff that so frequently disappoint tasters. So let's step past the unfortunate comparisons and consider white chocolate on its own terms. Once you get by the whole chocolate malapropism, white chocolate's flavor is pretty awesome: a buttery vanilla with strong hints of mint and other leafy herbs. The best samples have an echo of cocoa nib to compliment, not define, its nuanced flavor. And white chocolate's texture, unencumbered by cocoa solids, is ridiculously smooth and creamy. This was the character I wanted to capture in ice cream.
This ice cream amps up white chocolate's herbal notes with a generous steeping of mint. It's lower-fat than your average ice cream recipe, to melt milky on the tongue and refresh, not overwhelm your spring afternoons. And evenings. And midnight snacks. All it needs is a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a sweet-tart jolt on minty white milk.
The best white chocolate I've tried comes from Trader Joe's. It melts nicely and has a remarkable herbal flavor. I'm also a fan of Godiva white chocolate, which works in a pinch. Just avoid the cheap stuff: it'll make your ice cream taste like old candy. But when made with the real deal, it's ice cream worth draining the bowl. Do yourself a favor and make a double batch so you can hoard a quart to yourself. Trust me.
Ethan Frisch is the chef and co-mastermind behind Guerrilla Ice Cream. He's traveled around the world (30 countries, 5 continents) and worked as a pastry chef and line cook in some of NYC's great (and not so great) restaurants. He currently lives in London, where he really misses New York City tap water.
Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.You can follow his ramblings on Twitter.
- Yield:Serves 8 to 10 people
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:2 1/2 hours, plus an overnight chill
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large bunch mint leaves, removed from stems
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 7 ounces white chocolate, chopped fine (recommended: Trader Joe’s or Godiva)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses, for serving
In a three-quart saucepan, heat milk and cream to just below a simmer. Remove from heat and add mint leaves. Steep leaves for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until thick, lemony in color. Yolks will fall in ribbons from whisk.
Remove mint leaves and return pan to medium-low heat. Whisk in yolk mixture, white chocolate, and salt, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Stir until custard coats the back of a spoon and a finger swipe leaves a clean line. Strain into an airtight container and efrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours.
The next day, churn in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve as soft serve with 1 to 2 teaspoons of pomegranate molasses, or refrigerate 2 to 3 hours until ice cream firms up. Defrost on counter 10 minutes before serving, to allow ice cream to soften.