Chocolate Ice Cream {Custard Base}

Several of my sisters are homemade ice cream aficionados--Eliza even makes her own ice cream to stock her freezer.  {It's a good reason to visit her! :)}

I make homemade ice cream a few times a year for a treat (and stock my freezer with the kind you buy at the grocery store).  Any homemade ice cream we make gets snarfed up soft serve style--remember Vanilla Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream with Fruit, Mother's Easy Ice Cream, and Mint Chocolate Cookie Homemade Ice Cream? The rare leftovers get put in the freezer.  They are still good on future days, but they tend to get icy.  I've found they taste better softened a bit. 

Well, the one thing I haven't ever tried was a custard base for ice cream.  {Gasp!}  It just seemed like a lot of work.  I'm usually a no- or low-fuss kind of cook.  But, it was time to try out this recipe and see what all the fuss was about. 

Chocolate Ice Cream
2 Tb. cornstarch
2 2/3 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
8-12 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
3 cups half and half
4 cups cream

Mix the cornstarch, sugar, salt, milk, and extract in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Stir in about 1 cup of the warm milk into the beaten eggs. Add the eggs and milk back to the milk in the pan and cook. Stir constantly until thickened, about 2-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate. Beat with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the half and half and then strain the mixture into another container. At this point you need to put it in the fridge to cool completely (several hours or overnight).

Mix the cooled chocolate custard with the cream and freeze in an ice cream freezer. These amounts fill a 6-quart freezer. You can add in crushed chocolate cookies or other treats during the last 5 minutes of freezing time.

Tiffany's Notes:  So...that's what the fuss is about!  Amazingly smooth and rich ice cream!  And it just gets better if you allow it to cure (harden) in the freezer.  Now I really want to try the Vanilla Ice Cream, Custard Version!

So...here's my input.  I did have to make a substitution because I didn't have half-and-half on hand.  I substituted one 12 ounce can of evaporated milk for the 3 cups of half and half.  I have a 4 quart freezer so I was concerned that there would be too much of the ice cream mixture to fit--but, really, this amount fit my freezer fine.  I could have probably done the recipe as written and had it fit.  (I do think the kind of freezer you use makes a difference on the amount needed.) 

The custard mixture did take a long time to cook (maybe it's my stove?).  It seemed a little too long for my short patience.  But, I guess you get the ice cream out of it so it's worth it occasionally!  The mixture looked lovely and creamy, but I did strain it as suggested and found it did catch a few small lumps. 

It was a very chocolatey ice cream!  If you wanted a milder taste you could probably decrease the chocolate (can you believe I'm saying that?).  I used 2 cups (12 ounces) of chocolate chips--the chocolate I had on hand.  If you used a better quality chocolate it would (obviously!) make the ice cream taste even better. 

Eliza's notes [Aug. 2013]: We make this ice cream quite a lot since it works so well. I usually decrease the chocolate to 8-10 oz and I mix the non-melted chocolate into the custard as it is cooking. You have to use a good baking chocolate that melts nicely (not the cheap stuff!) to get the best results. I always strain the mixture just in case there is a lump or two.

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