As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I recently received a windfall of herbs from my friend Karen’s garden. It was a lovely mixture and I’ve had a fun time experimenting with flavors and using the herbs in new ways.
Her generous food gift included a hefty portion of thyme. This herb just smells and tastes green to me. I also find it quite strong tasting. I find that too many cooks overuse it and in some dishes it is all I taste. That is not what I want.
Thyme is a little bittersweet and as I mulled over what to do with it I decided to make a dessert. Sweet paired with bitter just seemed right. And, as many of you know, I have trouble imagining dessert without chocolate. And, thus it was decided. Thyme and chocolate together at last.
Thyme Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Sauce
Makes about 1 quart of ice cream
Inspired by Thomas Keller
For Ice Cream:
1 1/4 cups whole milk
small handful of thyme sprigs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
For Chocolate Sauce:
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp light corn syrup
To make ice cream:
In a small saucepan, combine milk and thyme sprigs and turn on burner. Heat the milk until it starts to form bubbles around the edges. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
Cover and put in refrigerator to steep overnight.
The following day, heat again until bubbles form. Then strain to remove thyme sprigs and leaves. You will really start to smell the grassy thyme now.
In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar.
Slowly add the warm, thyme-infused milk to the beaten eggs in a thin stream, stirring constantly. When you add something hot to eggs, you risk curdling or cooking the eggs. If you add it slowly while stirring, you temper the two ingredients so they combine instead of cook. Don’t panic if you do see a few little lumps, you can strain them out later.
Transfer to a clean saucepan and stir over low heat, without letting it boil, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve.
Stir in the heavy cream. Cover and cool in refrigerator for several hours.
Follow manufacturers’ directions for your ice cream maker.
To make chocolate sauce:
Put cream, chocolate, and syrup in a saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
The sauce should be ready in about 2 minutes.
Serve right away or you can keep in refrigerator for a few days and reheat in microwave. Just heat for 30 seconds or less, stir and repeat once or twice.