Friday, May 10, 2024

Ice Cream Recipe Review: David Lebowitz's Chocolate Ice Cream

  “Chocolate Ice Cream” from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebowitz.

  • The online recipe can be found here
  • My other chocolate ice cream reviews can be found here

I don't know if it's the double-boiler that caused this, but this is the smoothest egg-based custard I've ever made (despite not having a liquid sugar nor a stabilizer both of which really do help prevent iciness).  I also had some difficulty getting the custard up to 170F/77C, but I watched the consistency, and it thickened appropriately on the cool side - around 160F/71C.  I wonder if it's because the water level had dropped too much in the lower chamber of the double boiler?  It was far from empty, but it dropped an inch in the time I cooked the custard.

Note: to pasteurize an egg, it must be held at 140F/60C for 3.5 minutes. The custard was held at a significantly higher temperature for a significantly longer period of time, so the concern here wasn't with food safety, but whether it would achieve the right texture (it did).

Either way, once chilled, the custard was so thick (about the consistency of pudding cups I ate as a kid) I had to spoon it into the churn.   I must have managed the temperatures appropriately because I doubt it would have thickened so much if I hadn't. 

It's also very deeply chocolatey (which I appreciate in an ice cream).  I think I prefer the flavor of Fany Gerson's chocolate ice cream with mazapán (which tastes like a flourless chocolate cake in ice cream form), but this was really, really good.

Substitutions and Techniques:

  • Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar (always) as I prefer the flavor.
  • I used chocolate chips as the chocolate source.
  • I'm currently using a double boiler for my egg-based custards.
  • I used the no-temper technique I adapted from Serious Eats and Rose Levy Beranbaum. I placed the egg yolks into the upper chamber of the double boiler (while it was cold) and whisked them with 1/3 of the sugar. Then I added all the rest of the ingredients except the vanilla and chocolate chips, whisked it gently then turned on the heat under the double boiler.  
  • I filled the sink with cold water in preparation for rapid chilling of the custard.
  • The chocolate chips and vanilla went into my mini milk can that I use to chill the custard.  I poured the custard onto the chips, then placed the can into the sink of cold water to begin the chilling process.  
  • I whisked the mixture to melt the chips, and it turned a deep glossy, chocolatey brown (that glossiness is what you are looking for), and I continued whisking for a couple of minutes, long enough for it to cool to warm then left the can in the cold water for an hour before transferring the custard to the fridge overnight.
  • I churned at a faster speed than usual to decrease the richness a little. It lightened noticeably in color (as with a whipped ganache).


  • Same day: Silky smooth. The flavor is more deeply chocolate than the color would imply. Wonderful.
  • Next day: Excellent flavor and texture.  Not as scoopable as I'd like - still need to let it sit at room temp for 10 minutes first. 


  • Chambord is delicious on this ice cream. 
  • I think a salted caramel ripple would be wonderful in it, or even some sort of banana ripple ... or any fruit ripple, really.

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