Mexican Chocolate Chile Ice Cream
Helado de Chocolate y Chile Pasilla
Makes 1 quart
Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time
1 large pasilla negro chile, stemmed, seeded and, if you wish, deveined
1 1/3 cups half-and-half
2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, preferably 70% Venezuelan, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, preferably Mexican vanilla
2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1. Make the chile infusion. In a small skillet heated over medium, toast the chile, pressing it flat against the skillet with a metal spatula until it is very aromatic - about 10 seconds per side. Place in a small saucepan, add the half-and-half, Mexican chocolate and the semi-sweet chocolate, and heat over medium until steaming (but not boiling). Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, then pour into a blender jar and process until the chile is pureed.
2. Set up a double boiler. Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat while you're preparing the custard base.
3. Cook the base. In the 3-quart stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined, then whisk in the chile-infused chocolate mixture. Reduce the temperature under the pot of boiling water to maintain a gentle simmer. Set the bowl of custard base over the simmering water and whisk frequently, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens noticeably, about 5 minutes. The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard: if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.) For the finest texture,pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a similar-size stainless steel bowl.
4. Cool the base. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle a smaller bowl into the ice and pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture until it is completely cool. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
5. Finishing the base, freeze the ice cream. Stir the heavy cream, vanilla and Kahlua into the base. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.