Fancy ice cream isn’t anything new. We’re accustomed to, even expecting, unique food-centric flavors.
But when I want something really special, something that satisfies both the kid in me that chased down the ice cream truck and also the pastry chef who prefers everything homemade, I think about gelato pops I can buy ready made or make myself.
sophistication with their hand-dipped mini gelato pops. Instead of scoops of frozen custard, they dip flavors such as caramel corn and coffee-biscotti into a rich chocolate coating that freezes into a thin, crisp shell.
The gelato itself is rich and indulgent, but it’s the quality of all the ingredients and the skillful execution that has me swooning.
At first glance, the ingredient list may seem obscure, but you can find everything at well-stocked supermarkets. (Oddly, I found the cocoa butter with the moisturizers.)
I won’t lie – making a chocolate-dipped ice cream pop is slightly labor-intensive. But I would never do it all in the same day, and neither should you.
It’s good to think of making ice cream as three separate steps: making the custard, chilling the custard and churning the custard. I break up the steps so I’m committing only a few minutes a day over a day or two.
To make the pops, we’re adding two additional steps: putting the ice cream into ice pop molds to freeze and then dipping them in melted chocolate. “Keep all the equipment very, very cold when you pipe the custard into the molds,” Serrano says, “and make sure the coating chocolate isn’t too hot.”
Sure, you can skip those steps and simply freeze the churned custard to eat with a spoon, but where’s the fun in that? This is your chance to please any kids in your house and have a moment of nostalgia via homemade ice cream on a stick that’s worthy of grown-up preferences.
Sixth Course Chocolate Gelato Pops
Makes about 5 cups of frozen custard or 10 pops
2 ounces Valrhona Guanaja 70 percent (or other 70 percent dark chocolate), chopped plus 16 ounces for melting
2 cups whole milk
¾ cup cream
²⁄3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
Pinch kosher salt
¼ to ½ cup cocoa nibs (optional)
6 ounces cocoa butter or refined coconut oil
Instructions: Put the 2 ounces chopped chocolate in a bowl with a strainer set over it; set aside. Heat the milk, cream and ¹/3 cup sugar in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until very hot but not boiling. Whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining ¹/3 cup sugar in a large bowl. (Do not do this before heating the milk because the egg/sugar combination should not sit.) Slowly pour about half the hot cream mixture, ¼ cup at a time, into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until the yolks are warm. Return the yolk mixture to the pot and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until slightly thickened, 185 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture through the strainer and over the chocolate, stirring to combine. Add the salt.
Cover and chill the chocolate mixture until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight. Put popsicle molds into freezer to chill.
When the chocolate mixture is cold, process it in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s specifications until thick, creamy and lighter in color. Stir in the cocoa nibs, if using.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or a heavy-duty self-sealing plastic bag with one corner cut. Pipe halfway into the chilled ice pop molds; use rubber gloves to help keep the chill off your hands. Tap the molds to release air bubbles, then continue to fill until full. Insert the popsicle sticks if needed. Freeze the molds until the ice cream is completely firm, at least 4 hours. Put a parchment-lined baking sheet lined in the freezer to chill.
When ready to dip the ice cream pops in chocolate, place the 16 ounces chocolate and the cocoa butter in a metal bowl. Set the bowl over 1 inch of simmering water until the chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 90 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to a large coffee mug or other similar container to dip the ice cream bars. Working with just a couple of pops at a time, unmold the pops by dunking the molds quickly into warm water to loosen and pinching the molds from the bottom while gently pulling on the stick (so they don’t break in the middle). Rechill on the tray in the freezer for a minute if the ice cream has become too soft.
Dip a pop into the melted chocolate only once, to completely coat up to the stick, letting excess drip off. Place on a clean part of the prepared tray. Repeat with a second pop, then immediately put the tray into the freezer while you dip a few more. Continue dipping a couple at a time, putting them into the freezer immediately, until all the pops are coated. You may have dipping chocolate left over; use it as a sauce on ice cream.
Store the frozen dipped pops in a sealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.