Thursday, June 16, 2011

Five Days to Chocolate Ice Cream St. John

Chocolate Ice Cream St. John (or Five Day Ice Cream)

Do you remember how Darren would call Samantha at the last minute to say he’s bringing Larry Tate over for dinner? And there the pretty Samatha would be, not worrying about dinner itself, but rather how to get one or more odd relatives to (literally) disappear.

Dinner would be ready when Darren walked through the door, alone or with guests.

Today’s world finds us scheduling social occasions as far in advance as dental visits. It’s only now that I am away from an office job that I have the luxury to plan for dinner guests.

One thing to be said for planning is that you can spend a lot of time kvetching about what to eat. Early notice also allows you to serve, for instance, a chocolate ice cream that takes five days to prepare.

Since I saw the recipe in the June 2011 Bon Appetit, I've been calling it the Five Day Ice Cream, though it has no fancy name other than what it is: chocolate ice cream. The dark, truffley concoction was developed St. John, the London restaurant of Fergus Henderson, who, with his wife Margot, is featured in a Bon Appetit story about long afternoon meals at their home. I’d love to be a dinner guest at the Hendersons’.

The five days is no joke. Prepare the base and chill on day one, then process in an ice cream freezer on day two. Pack into a container and allow to ripen in the freezer for three more days.

Many chocolate ice creams are made with cocoa only. This recipe calls for 7 ounces of bittersweet chocolate plus some cocoa powder, too. The 6 large egg yolks come along and make for a thicker than usual custard base. It’s rather like a batter for flourless chocolate cake. (I’ve wondered how this might turn out if baked in a water bath.)

The resulting flavor is bittersweet and creamy. Edgy. An adult’s ice cream.

Does it need three days to ripen? I think so. My taste test (of course I tasted) found the freshly churned ice cream was smoother tasting after three days in the freezer.

Because of its intensity, I served the ice cream in tiny glass cups. Our party of four shared a plate of little butter cookies, slathering them one at a time with the cold chocolate as deconstructed ice cream sandwiches for grown-ups.

Only on TV could Samantha twitch her nose and instantly present a chocolate ice cream that requires five days. We mortals must plan. You can find the recipe here.


  1. Delighted I was the recipient of this decadent, yet high maintenance ice cream. Yum. Thanks again for having us. Kelly

  2. You're welcome! It was our pleasure.

  3. Thanks for this. It's no wonder that it took the recipe authors years to perfect it. I know first-hand how hard it is to get a perfect dark chocolate ice cream to work (I originally had one in my book, but after a dozen tests, it never did meet my standards, so I dropped it).

  4. Wini, thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to your book!

  5. I've been looking at this recipe since the June issue as well, but I kept wondering whether it would be as delicious as the photo looks. Thanks for the encouragement. My weekend sweet treat is lined up!

  6. Wow. Stumbled across your blog today. This post alone made me immediately add it to my feed. Wow!!! Thanks!!! See you around in the foodie blog world.

  7. Laura,
    Glad we found each other. I look forward to hearing about the flavors of northwest Iowa.


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