I love it when I get food as gifts. There’s so many great foods out there that I’m too frugal to splurge on for myself even though I really want to try them. I’ve never had artisanal balsamic vinegar or Valrhona chocolate, and I can never bring myself to get the expensive bottle of olive oil. My sister gave me this chocolate wine sauce for Christmas, and it’s a perfect example. I would have tried the free sample of this and thought “oh, it’s so good, I want to take some home!” and then I would have looked longingly at it and talked myself out of buying any.
So I was really excited to get it as a gift – so excited, in fact, that I waited 6 months to open it. That’s right, I’m one of those people who has to wait for the perfect opportunity for open that special bottle. I had told myself that I wanted to have the sauce on homemade vanilla ice cream, and I just never got around to making it earlier in the year. What’s really silly is that I made three pound cakes in March! But I was too stubborn to open the bottle for pound cake.
Ah, but it was worth the wait. Of course I knew that I liked red wine and that I liked chocolate, but I had forgotten how much I like red wine and chocolate together. The sauce has the perfect proportions of each component. It seems really sweet to me, but that’s probably because I like chocolate really dark.
The ice cream should in no way be passed over in favor of the sauce. This is the third vanilla ice cream recipe I’ve made (after Cook’s Illustrated’s and Alton Brown’s) and by far the smoothest. I do have in mind to try one more vanilla ice cream recipe, but it has a lot of live up to after this one.
Vanilla Ice Cream (from David Lebovitz)
About 1 quart
1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
¾ cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
2 cup heavy cream
a few drops of vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.
2. Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.