Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chocolat-Orangette Ice Cream

As I write this I'm having a total deja-vu moment. Which is kind of ironic since this post is about memories. I swear I made and blogged about this ice cream before. Maybe it's not deja vu, but an indication of how much I have chased the memory of this ice cream.

Deja vu. A lovely French phrase. Quite apropos since my little journey down memory lane started in France. I was in Vieux Nice and wondered upon the gelato stand Fenocchio. While I have loved every scoop of gelato I've devoured in Italy, the French almost do gelato better, especially at Fenocchio. Row upon row of gelato is laid out presenting a dizzying array of options from the everday to the more exotic. My eyes gazed longingly at each container, at once tempted by the Monet inspired hues of the violette, melon , and abricot and intrigued by the herbacous varieties of rosemary and thyme. Then I spied chocolat-orangette and all of the other flavors faded to black.

Strolling through the old city, I began to eat my bowl of french-frozen goodness and was hit with a memory as strong and warm as the sunshine that was shining down on me. My mother died while I was old enough to remember her, but young enough that my memories of her are like shards of glass. Fragments that often provide a window into my past and just as often frustrate because I don't have a full picture. But one thing I do remember is that my mother loved chocolate orange sticks. A candy that is almost a relic from another time, chocolate orange sticks are orange jellied candy enrobed in dark chocolate. That first bite of chocolat-orangette instantly reminded me of my mother. And while I was half a world away from where she last stood, in that moment, she was with me.

This was a few years ago and I have dreamt of that ice cream ever since. Again, I thought I had made it before now but there is no evidence to support that.

I came across the recipe below and modified it slightly to accomodate what I had on hand. I also like the idea of including chocolate chips and hand chopped a Lindt Orange Intense bar to add texture and more flavor. Bits of chewy orange and slivered almonds in the bar were a bonus that I didn't discover until I tasted the ice cream. Calling for a custard base and two cups of heavy cream and a cup of whole milk, this ice cream should be rich with a luxurious texture. With only a scant cup each of heavy cream and whole milk, I used skim milk to make up the difference. No question this substitution altered the texture, but it was still fabulous and now slightly lower in fat. The combination of unsweetened cocoa and bittersweet chocolate resulted in a rich, dark chocolate flavor that was perfect with the sweetness of the orange zest. I used my beloved fiori di sicilia extract instead of orange extract - perfection.

Of all the things that food gives us, its ability to bring us back to a time, to a place, or to a person taken from us too soon is the most extraordinary of all. Deja vu indeed.

Chocolat-Orangette Ice Cream

adapted from http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/cindyruth
Note: my substitutions are noted next to the original ingredient

2 cups heavy cream (subsituted one cup with one cup skim milk)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
grated zest of 2 large oranges (used zest from 1 orange)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (used fiori di scilia extract)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (did not use)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (used Lindt Intense Orange 3.5 oz bar)

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend cocoa. Brint to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Stir in remaining cup of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as throughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and orange zest in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture contantly over medium heat with a spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange extracts and the Grand Marnier. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture throughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir in the chopped chocolate at the end. Freeze until firm.

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  1. This is a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing your memories with us; and of course, your wonderful recipe. I can easily imagine Europe (be it Italy or France) serving up frozen goodness like this.

  2. What a lovely post and recipe. Can't wait to try it!

  3. What a wonderful story! I'm glad you didn't roast any ol' rhubarb, but shared this with us instead. Your ice cream also sounds divine!

  4. What a touching and well written post - thank you for sharing your memories with us. You have reminded me how very lucky I am to have Nana around to enjoy FFwD (even if she ordered me to throw out my own rhubarb :) and make me even more eager to try to get back to France with her this year. And we will add finding that ice cream to our list ~

  5. What a beautiful story, Candy. It's wonderful how certain foods and flavors evoke such strong memories. I can't wait to try make this!

  6. This makes me want to clean out a spot in the freezer for my ice cream cannister. Nice post & lovely ice cream.

  7. Your post is so lovely! I love how certain smells and tastes can evoke so many associations and memories.
    I also love anything choc orange! I bet it tasted amazing!

  8. This is a moving and beautiful post paired with an equally beautiful recipe. You painted Vieux Nice and your memories of your mother so well. Your well-crafted words also brought back a flood of memories of my own as I saw, smelled and tasted the intensity of these same streets in Vieux Nice, and really so much of Provence and Italy.
    Love my Fiori di Sicilia too. I make ice cream often, and will have to try out this recipe.


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