This Mayan Chocolate Frozen Custard is one of the most intense ice creams I’ve ever tasted. Using a whole host of traditional ingredients – Mexican crema, freshly ground cacao, cayenne pepper, and a hand-ground spice mixture called recado rojo that includes achiote, garlic, and vinegar – it has a ton of different flavors, and a somewhat gritty texture from the ground cacao beans. And preparing all the components really gave our mortar and pestle a good workout. I realize that this description might not make it sound all that appealing, but it’s a really exciting recipe that’s definitely worth stepping outside of your comfort zone for. If you can find whole cacao beans, use them – the smell of freshly roasted cacao being mashed to a paste is otherwordly – but otherwise, you can use cacao nibs or bittersweet chocolate.
Mayan Chocolate Frozen Custard
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.
- 2 c. whole milk
- 2 TBS recado rojo (bought in a Latin grocery, or homemade)
- 2 c. creme fraiche (or heavy cream)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. honey
- 3/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
- 5 large egg yolks
- 8 oz. fresh chocolate paste, recipe below (or bittersweet chocolate, chopped)
- 1 TBS vanilla
- Place the milk and the recado rojo in a blender and blend for 30 seconds. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a heavy saucepan, discarding the solids that get caught in the strainer. Add the creme fraiche, sugar, honey, allspice, and cayenne to the milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture has just reached a simmer, then remove from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are pale yellow and frothy. While whisking the eggs, slowly pour 1 cup of the hot milk into the eggs in a thin stream, whisking vigorously to temper the eggs. Repeat with another cup of hot milk, then pour the egg mixture back into the hot milk mixture, whisking the milk as you do so. Still whisking, return the custard to low heat and cook just until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. It will still be fluid – about the consistency of a creme anglaise.
- Once the mixture has thickened, strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding any solids. Stir in the chocolate paste or bittersweet chocolate until mixture is thick and chocolate is melted. Let cool, then stir in the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Once thoroughly chilled, process according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
Fresh Chocolate Paste
Makes about 8 oz.
- 1/2 lb. of whole fermented cacao beans
- Place the beans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Roast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and skins are cracking, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. As soon as beans are cool enough to handle, peel the skins away from the beans and discard the skins. Return any peeled beans that are still brown as opposed to a deep blackish brown to the pan for a minute or two, cooking until they are all deeply browned.
- Place peeled, roasted beans in a blender and blend until evenly ground. Transfer to a mortar and pestle in grind to a fine paste in batches.