Recipe: Homemade Super Dark Chocolate Frozen Custard with Pomegranate Syrup

I love ice cream.  It’s not a common item in our house though… probably because I love it so much and it is just bad for the body. Well, sometimes it feels good to be bad so I made a mean batch of frozen custard- probably the worst for you of all the frozen delicacies out there. Go big or go home- right?  We’re going to put together egg yolks, sugar, cream and chocolate to make some silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth frozen chocolate custard.  It’s homemade, easy to do and delicious- so let’s get started.

For this recipe, you will need some sort of ice cream machine.  If you don’t have one, get on the phone with some of your friends- I guarantee that somebody has one that they are not using right now.  Mine has been chilling (get it?) in the cabinet for probably 10 years without seeing the light of day. Most people would be happy to lend out this underutilized kitchen appliance. To use the machine, unless you have the kind that needs rock salt and ice (you’re on your own here), the base (carafe) will need to be frozen.  Plan on making your ice cream 24 hours after you put the ice cream carafe into the freezer.  I know, the directions say only 8 hours are necessary- but trust me, 24 hours is what it needs to get your frozen custard to set correctly.

We’re going to be tempering eggs in this recipe as well- so here’s the deal- when you temper eggs you are simply heating them up slowly with liquid so they don’t cook and make scrambled eggs.   Nobody wants scrambled eggs in their ice cream- that would be pretty funky.  In the event that you do see some lumps in your custard, don’t worry about it- just strain through a fine mesh sieve and all is right with the world again.  I strain mine before letting it set anyhow as a precaution.

Ingredients for the Super Dark Chocolate Frozen Custard

5 egg yolks (save the whites for an omelette or something)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch processed for a super smooth custard)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
1 1/4 cup whole or 2% milk (I used 2% because it is what I had)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

So when we get going, we’re going to do things in batches. There is some resting involved in this recipe (for the ingredients, which means that you can take a break too). The first thing to do is get the milk into a sauce pan over medium-low heat. We want to heat this just until it starts to bubble around the edges. As it is heating, take out a medium size mixing bowl and add in the yolks, sugar and cocoa powder. I needed to sift my cocoa powder because it had some good sized lumps in it. Mix it up in the bowl- if it gets stuck in the whisk, use a butter knife to clear it.

Sift the cocoa powder and break up any lumps. Photo by Scott Groth

When the milk is hot, pour about 1/4 cup into the chocolate mixture at a time- whisking to incorporate. Do not pour all the milk in at once- this will cook your eggs. Once they are combined, return the mixture to the sauce pan and put over low heat. You’re going to want to stir this sauce constantly to prevent burning and cook it over low heat to prevent your eggs from cooking too much. If the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat immediately and continue to stir. Remember that we can sieve the cooked egg out prior to the custard setting. Cook the mixture for 5-6 minutes or until nappante (it thickly coats the back of a metal spoon).

This custard thickly coats the back of a spoon (nappante). Take it off the heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Photo by Scott Groth

Now, take the custard and pour through a fine mesh sieve (even if you don’t think you cooked any eggs- it is precautionary) into a bowl that will be covered with cellophane and leave in the refrigerator for the next six to eight hours (this is the resting period). You have just made a delightful and chocolaty custard base. If you wanted, you could have poured this mixture into some mini martini glasses for a fun dessert idea.

Use a silicone spatula and lightly run it over the sieve to allow the custard to pass through easily. Photo by Scott Groth

After the custard has set, remove from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap. Pour in the cream and vanilla. Mix gently. Pour the mixture into the ice cream carafe- make sure that you don’t go much above the halfway point! Remember that the ice cream will expand as the molecules freeze- just about doubling in size. Start the ice cream maker. I ran mine for about 30 minutes. You can see how thick the custard gets- it’s almost impossible not to stick a spoon in and taste it while it is freezing.

Lightly whisk in the cream and vanilla, then pour into the ice cream carafe. Photo by Scott Groth

This is what it should look like right after it is poured into the ice cream machine. Photo by Scott Groth

This is what your frozen custard should look like after about 15 minutes in the machine. Photo by Scott Groth

This is just about ready to come out of the machine. I stuck a spoon in there to give it a taste- yummy. Photo by Scott Groth

Thirty minutes flies by and it is time to put the custard into a bowl that will go back in the freezer. Although you have some soft-serve directly from the ice cream maker, it will melt quickly. I suggest putting the frozen custard back in the freezer for about 2 hours to firm it up a little. If you need it more quickly than this, make sure that your bowls and utensils are chilled to slow down the melting process.

Toss it in to a bowl and into the freezer to firm up. Looks tasty! Photo by Scott Groth

After a couple hours, this ice cream is ready to eat. I’d say that it is almost too rich and chocolaty- which is hard for me to say because I love chocolate ice cream. What I did was made a quick pomegranate reduction- it’s fast, easy and really pairs nicely with this frozen custard.

Pomegranate Reduction Recipe:

1 fresh pomegranate, sliced and seeded (save the seeds, pitch everything else)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons agave syrup

Add the sugar and water together in a small sauce pan. Turn on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the agave and 1/2 the pomegranate seeds. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain out the pomegranate seeds (these are now candied, but the seeds themselves are bummers in the teeth) and cool the syrup in the fridge or freezer. Pour over the Super Dark Chocolate Frozen Custard and smile, cause it’s just that good.

Enjoy! More pictures below too for the Pomegranate Reduction-

Fresh pomegranate seeds. Remove them from the fruit with a narrow spoon. Photo by Scott Groth

The seeds are cooking in the simple syrup and agave. The seeds will impart their red color into the syrup. Photo by Scott Groth

Here's what it looks like at the end. I would omit the seeds on top- they stuck in my teeth for an hour. The frozen custard and pomegranate syrup are delicious together though! Photo by Scott Groth

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11 Responses to Recipe: Homemade Super Dark Chocolate Frozen Custard with Pomegranate Syrup

  1. SOOK December 20, 2010 at 9:57 PM #

    Mmmm what a great recipe for ice cream – frozen custard sounds like a great idea! :) Love your pictures.

  2. EASY VEGETARIAN RECIPES December 21, 2010 at 10:48 PM #

    Decided to focus on vegan/vegetarian recipes for my cookbook.more about easy vegetarian recipes

  3. JOANNE December 24, 2010 at 12:38 PM #

    WOW this looks awesome. I actually don’t have an ice cream machine, but you’re right, somebody I know has to have one!

  4. KITCHEN MONKI DAN December 30, 2010 at 4:20 PM #

    Mmmm, great photos! I’ve been on a pomegranate kick recently… wish I had an ice cream maker!

  5. LAUREL July 23, 2011 at 1:35 PM #

    Trying this today, wish me luck!

  6. THE CHUBBY COOK July 27, 2011 at 9:57 AM #

    How did it turn out?

  7. ANONYMOUS September 8, 2011 at 1:00 AM #

    I started the custard base last night and just finished running this through my ice cream maker this evening. It’s still firming-up, but I of course had to take a bite (okay, a few) before I threw it in the freezer. This is an absolutely delicious recipe! For the Midwest readers out there, the taste is similar to the Chocolate Frozen Custard from Culver’s. I also used 2% instead of whole milk, and I didn’t have Dutch Processed cocoa powder or vanilla sugar, but I did use a good quality cocoa (Pernigotti) and a good quality vanilla extract as well (Nielsen Massey) I had never made ice-cream before, so the idea of making something like this vs. buying a mix at the store for my first go-around was slightly daunting; but it was a very easy recipe, even for a novice.
    Besides omitting the cocoa powder, what changes in the recipe would be needed for vanilla custard? Would more vanilla extract be needed or keep it at 2 tsp?

  8. ANONYMOUS January 3, 2012 at 11:29 AM #

    This sounds like an absolutely delicious recipe.. I am going to start it later today.

    There was a couple precious posts that said they wish they had an ice cream maker.. guess what?? You dont need one! I make homemade ice cream on a regular basis (custard base only) & I dont have an ice cream maker. The key to soft, creamy ice cream is not allowing the ice crystals to form. It is very important to allow the custard to cool completely in fridge overnight, give it a good whisk then put in freezer. As it is freezing in the freezer make sure to take out every couple of hours (as it starts to freeze) & stir it really well.. I use an immersion blender. Just do this a few times during the freezing process & you will have delicious, creamy ice cream without the the ice crystals!! Its super delicious!! :-)

  9. STEVE January 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM #

    There is only one problem with this recipe; you need to double it or you won’t have enough! This frozen custard is AMAZING. After I tasted the first batch I immediately started on a second one because I knew it was going to go quick. I was a little intimidated when I made it the first time, I thought it looked like a complex recipe but once I knew what I was doing the second batch was a snap. I will never make icecream again – from now on it’s frozen custard or nothing.

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