I recently got invited to a party that was happening in my own home. I love it when parties happen in my apartment because a. minimal travel time and b. I can make ice cream and not worry about the part where I have to bike it across the city in a plastic bag full of ice. This particular party was focused around a very serious critical viewing of the first season of The OC, so I decided to theme my dessert appropriately. I was very happy with the result, which was as decadent as the Cohen family pool house, as cold as Summer’s heart, and as full of hot nuts as one of those weird beach parties they’re always having.
**A warning before we start: like all French-style ice creams, this recipe calls for heating and cooling and churning and freezing, and is a several-day affair. It also requires an ice cream maker (sometimes those are at Goodwill! I got mine for $8). You’ve been warned.
OC Ice Cream
Orange Chocolate with Roasted Walnuts
(recipe adapted from Chow)
2 oz dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli and it was about half a bar)
1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch processed if you’ve got it)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp orange zest (~2 oranges)
1 tbsp OJ concentrate
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 handfuls whole walnuts
1. Put some water on the stove in a small pot to boil.
2. Zest your oranges! Bonus: now you smell like oranges for the whole rest of the recipe.
3. Your water is probably boiling by now, especially if you followed step 2.5. Stick a metal bowl on top of the pot. Now you have a double boiler with which to melt your chocolate! Do that, and then add the cocoa slowly, along with small amounts of the milk, until you have a smooth, super chocolatey thing going on.
2. Add the rest of the milk, the vanilla, the orange zest, and the orange juice concentrate. Pro tip: the remaining orange juice concentrate makes really good popsicles.
3. Once all of that has incorporated, pour it into a medium-sized saucepan and heat it on medium low. Gradually stir in the heavy cream.
4. As your cream/chocolate mixture is gently warming, whisk your eggs in a small bowl until they are fluffy. Then whisk in the sugar until it is grainy and fluffy at the same time.
5. Temper your eggs! Pour a small amount of the heated cream mixture into them while whisking constantly, so that they don’t scramble. Once this egg mixture is nearly as warm as the chocolate stovetop mixture, add it to the saucepan. Cook it on medium low until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (or, if you don’t have a thermometer, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).
6. Once it has reached the desired thickness, grab it off the stove and pour it into a bowl to cool. When it’s down to room temperature, cover it in saran wrap and stick it in the fridge to chill for a while (I left it overnight). Pro tip: put the saran wrap directly on top of the mixture in order to avoid that strange skin that sometimes develops.
7. At some point, probably during one of the vast waiting periods this recipe requires, you will want to toast up your walnuts. Spread them on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°.
8. Go about your day and/or night!
9. Ok, now it’s tomorrow. Time to remove your ice cream batter from your fridge and pour it into your ice cream maker. It took about 20 minutes for mine to get all aerated and delicious. I used that time to smash my walnuts (plastic bag + wooden spoon = perfectly-sized pieces) and attempt to draw California on a paper lid.
10. When you are transferring your almost-finished product into its final resting bowl, fold in the walnuts. Then put it in the freezer and leave it there for a long time. At least 4 hours. It’s worth it!
11. Serve it to your guests or family or roommates. Or just eat it all yourself. Either way, enjoy!