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With autumn at our door, I’m trying to savor one last moment of summer with this double chocolate ice cream with salted toasted pecans.   In this dish, I used my favorite Askinosie chocolate - made in the USA in Springfield, Missouri.  The pecans are from my hometown in Georgia.  I seasoned them with fleur-de-sel sea salt that I picked up on my last Culinary Getaway to Provence.  The combination of ingredients in this ice cream yields a dessert that is deep, rich and luscious – sweet and savory.

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Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 ounces (by weight) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 teaspoon fleur-de-sel sea salt plus extra for garnish

You will also need:
Medium saucepan
Large spoon
Immersible blender
Baking dish
Ice cream machine

Instructions
Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until bubbles form at the sides.  Turn off the heat.  Add the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate.  Let stand for a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate. 

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Add the sugar.  Stir well. 

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Use an immersible blender to fully incorporate the chocolate and sugar into the cream. 

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Add the milk and the vanilla.  Stir well. 

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Place the mixture into the refrigerator to completely cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.   Add the pecans to a baking dish and roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until they start to get a toasty aroma.  Be very careful, as they burn easily.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.

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Chop the pecans coarsely and add 1/4 teaspoon fleur-de-sel sea salt to the chopped pecans.  Mix well.  Divide into two portions – 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup.

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Remove the cream mixture from the refrigerator and add 1/2 cup of chopped toasted salted pecans.   Reserve 1/4 cup chopped pecans for later. 

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Make the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream machine.  Let ripen in the freezer for a few hours before serving. 

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To serve, place the ice cream into festive dishes.  Top with a scattering of the reserved chopped pecans.  Sprinkle lightly with fleur-de-sel, if desired. 

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Serves 4.

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