The Nigella Diaries – The Best Chocolate Ice-cream In The World

Have I ever told you about the time a few years ago that I was making coconut ice cream and it ended up all over the kitchen? No? Well, there was this time that I was making coconut ice cream and it went all over the kitchen.

I have one of these ice cream maker attachments to go with my Kitchenaid stand mixer. It churns the ice cream and chills it but doesn’t really freeze it – you still need to put it into the freezer for that. Anyways, this day I’d left it churning for the 40 minutes I used to churn it for, and Sarah thought that she might like to try and sneak a bit of the mix that had frozen onto the side of the bowl, so she stuck a teaspoon in to scrape it.

Unfortunately though, the teaspoon hit the edge of the churner causing her to drop it in which made the whole thing wobble alarmingly and spin off its alignment. Sarah tried to turn it off, but in her panic turned the speed up instead. The churner spun off and ice cream flew literally everywhere – including all over the dog who, quite frankly, couldn’t see any problem with that.

I’ve come out from where I was cleaning the bathroom to find her backing away from the mess with her arms in the air – and to find that the kitchen I’d just finished cleaning needed to be done again.

‘You’re acting like this is my fault!’ she said.

‘The instructions say to supervise children around it,’ she said.

‘If you had an ice cream maker with a lid on it this wouldn’t have happened,’ she said.


Well, now I have – an ice cream maker with a lid on it. 

While the Kitchenaid churner does result in a lovely churned ice cream – and has done the job for me over many years – the bowl doesn’t stay frozen for long enough in a Queensland summer to do it effectively. Plus, I have to think a long way ahead to clear room in the freezer to actually pre-freeze the bowl and have the ice cream made early enough to give it the time in the freezer it needs to freeze. So my birthday present this year was a proper ice cream maker. (Actually, we went up to buy a new Fitbit to replace mine which has had a cracked face for goodness knows how long and came back with an ice cream maker instead.)

While the machine came with a little book of recipes I, of course, went straight to the Nigella files for this one, one that she calls The World’s Best Chocolate Ice-cream. How could I resist such a #bigcall? Nigella appropriated the recipe from Marcella Hazan’s Marcella’s Kitchen and she, in turn, procured it from the Cipriani in Venice. Now it’s found its way into my kitchen in Buderim, Queensland.

The recipe uses melted dark chocolate as well as cocoa for the flavour hit – and it works. The thing about ice cream is that the flavours need to be intense because the cold will dull them, so use the best dark chocolate (at least 70%) and best cocoa that you can.

There’s a little palaver in this recipe where Nigella adds some dark caramel, almost burnt sugar, to the ice cream. It adds a background hit of bitterness that is perfect against all that sweetness, but if you can’t be faffed the ice cream still tastes great and deeply, darkly, chocolatey.

Okay, to the recipe…

What you need

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 130g (plus another 2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 500 ml milk (full-fat, of course)
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 40g cocoa

What you do with it

  • Whisk the yolks and 130g of the sugar until thick and creamy. (I do this using my stand mixer.)
  • Bring the milk to the boil and trickle it into the eggy-sugary mix, beating all the while.
  • Melt the chocolate in your preferred way – either in a bowl over simmering water or carefully in the microwave – and whisk it, followed by the cocoa, into the eggy, sugary, milky mix.
  • Pour what is now a chocolate custard into a clean saucepan (I use a wide pan) and cook on low-medium heat, stirring all the while, until everything is smooth and beginning to thicken.
  • Now for the extra palaver. Put 2 tablespoons of sugar into a heavy-bottomed pan with 2 teaspoons of water and set the heat to high. What you’re after here is a dark caramel which you then whisk into the custard. Don’t worry if it crystallises a tad, it should whisk out.
  • To bring the temperature down quickly, plunge the saucepan into the sink with some ice-cold water thoughtfully already in it and stir some more.
  • Chill for half an hour or so before churning.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

3 thoughts

  1. Hahaha, Donna on the comment regarding her being an excellent lawyer, quite right 🙂 Anyway, the chocolate ice-cream sounds delicious. However, I would need to make it with alternative milk; coconut would be just as divine. Hope all is well in your part of the woods.

  2. OMgoodness! Too funny and not so funny. Glad Sarah did not get hurt. Too funny on Ice cream maker versus Fitbit. Or was it plus Fitbit? Good ice cream is a major treat!

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