David Lebovitz prefers using Valrhona brand Ivoire chocolate, with 34 percent cocoa butter. He tested the recipe using white chocolate from the supermarket, with 20 percent cocoa butter, and found it chalky and dry during the caramelization process. Look for a white chocolate with at least 30 percent cocoa butter for best results.
Valrhona le Blanc (35 percent; $11 for nearly 9 ounces) and Edelweiss by Felchlin (34 percent; $4 for 3.5 ounces) are available at Biagio Fine Chocolate, 1904 18th St. NW (202-328-1506).
Serve as an accompaniment to chocolate cake or by itself with a few flakes of smoked sea salt on top.
Make Ahead: The caramelized white chocolate needs to be added warm for this recipe. But it can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It should keep for several months if stored in a cool, dry place.
Servings: 1 quart
- For the caramelized white chocolate
- 12 ounces (340 grams) white chocolate, a block or feves, preferably Valrhona Ivoire brand (34 percent cocoa butter; see headnote)
- Pinch flaked sea salt
- For the ice cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 large egg yolks
For the caramelized white chocolate: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
If the white chocolate is in a block, chop it into coarse pieces.
Distribute the white chocolate on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and spread it with a clean, dry spatula.
Continue to cook for an additional 40 to 60 minutes, stirring at 10-minute intervals. At some points it may look lumpy and chalky (and even unpleasant), but keep stirring and it will smooth out and caramelize. Basically what you're doing is checking the chocolate every 10 minutes and giving it a good stir to promote the caramelization. The only danger is overcooking: You want to cook it until it's the color of natural peanut butter. If you do overcook it and it gets grainy, you can press it through a fine-mesh sieve and it'll be just fine.
The white chocolate is ready when it is a deep golden brown. Stir in a good pinch of sea salt. If it's lumpy, scrape it into a bowl and smooth it out with an immersion blender, or whir it in a food processor. Use right away, while it is still warm. The yield is 8 ounces (all you need for the ice cream).
For the ice cream: Combine the warm caramelized white chocolate in a large bowl with the heavy cream, and set a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl.
Combine the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir and heat through.
Whisk together the egg yolks in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in half of the warm milk, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, for about 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer into the white chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
From cookbook author David Lebovitz.
Tested by Ian Herbert.
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