For Chocolate Lovers only

White Chocolate Rum Raisin Ice Cream

I first set out to make a dark chocolate rum raisin ice cream, but I soon discovered that the ice cream overwhelmed even the most the rum-laden raisins. With a white chocolate ice cream, I believe this is much less of a problem. You can use either 8 or 9 ounces of white chocolate in the ice cream; use the higher amount if you like a sweeter ice cream with a more definite taste of white chocolate (long-time readers of this column may recognize the white chocolate ice cream as a variation of a recipe used here some years ago). However much white chocolate you use, make sure it’s of the highest quality; do NOT use anything called “summer coating”!

The 1/4 cup rum called for here produces very “boozy” raisins; you might want to cut down the quantity of rum, but I wouldn’t suggest anything less than 2 tablespoons (you might also try using a white or light rum). If your raisins aren’t fresh and pliable from the box or package, get some new ones, and remember the raisins should macerate in the rum at least overnight before you use them (the ice cream base needs to chill well, too, and conveniently enough an overnight time period is ideal for this). I haven’t tried golden raisins in this recipe, but I can see no reason that they wouldn’t work here. Finally, you’ll need a candy thermometer, a fine strainer, and an ice cream churn. My churn is a Krups electric one-quart model that has served me beautifully for some years now. Remember to freeze the inner churning chamber for 24 hours if required! You’ll be able to serve this directly from the freezer; it doesn’t get too hard to scoop even after several days (it’s all that rum in the raisins).

Yield: About 1.2 quarts

  • 1 cup soft, fresh, dark raisins
  • 1/4 cup golden rum
  • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon (no white pith, please)
  • 8 to 9 ounces best-quality white chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks, from egg graded “large”
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Few grains of salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

At least 12 hours (24 hours, preferably) before you want to use them, combine the raisins and rum in an airtight container. Seal tightly, shake to mix, and set aside at room temperature, shaking periodically so the raisins can absorb the rum on all surfaces.

In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan with tight-fitting lid, combine milk, 2/3 cup heavy cream (reserve remainder), and lemon zest. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a simmer. Cover tightly. Remove from heat; allow to stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, combine milk, 2/3 cup cream, and lemon zest in microwaveable container of at least 2-1/2 cup capacity. Heat on high power until steaming hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from microwave, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to stand as above.)

Meanwhile, place very finely chopped white chocolate in heatproof bowl or pitcher of at least 6-cup capacity. In small saucepan, heat the remaining 2/3 cup cream over low heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Pour about half of hot cream into chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then gently whisk or stir white chocolate mixture until melted and smooth (alternatively, heat this cream in a microwave on high power until very hot, then follow above directions for melting white chocolate). Gradually, in about three additions, add remaining hot cream to white chocolate mixture, stirring after each addition until incorporated. Place a fine strainer over the bowl or pitcher containing this mixture, and make sure the whole assembly is near the stovetop.

Off the heat, in a heavy-bottomed, 1 quart pot, combine egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Mix well with slotted spoon or small whisk. When the lemon zest mixture has stood for 15 to 20 minutes, gradually add it to the egg yolk mixture, stirring the egg yolk mixture constantly as you do so. Place this pot over medium-low heat; cook and stir until the mixture registers 174 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat. Work quickly now. Pour about one-third of this custard through the fine strainer into the white chocolate mixture, and stir in until incorporated. Repeat with remaining hot custard, straining it into the white chocolate mixture in two or three further additions. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl/pitcher with a heat-resistant rubber spatula two or three times to ensure thorough blending. Press down on the shreds of lemon zest in the strainer to extract all liquid from them. Add vanilla and stir in.

I like to transfer the custard to a pitcher of 4-cup capacity for ease in handling, and I do that now. Cool custard briefly, then chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight. When cold, cover container with a circle of paper towel (slightly larger than top diameter of container) laid gently over the top, then cover the whole tightly with plastic wrap (if any condensation forms, this will prevent it from dripping into your ice cream base).

About an hour before you churn the ice cream, if you can remember, give the raisins one last shake and place them in the fridge to chill. At the same time, place a resealable plastic carton of about 1.2 quart capacity in the fridge or freezer to chill.

Churn ice cream, following manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll want to keep the white chocolate ice cream churning a bit longer than normal, as it ought to be fairly stiff when the raisins are added (this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the container). When the ice cream is finished churning, unplug the churn; remove the cover (if any) and the churn or paddle. Work quickly now! Add the cold raisins and any leftover liquid in their container; stir in with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed. Pack ice cream into cold container and return to freezer to harden up. This ice cream takes longer than others to harden, and I’d suggest a minimum of 6 hours between churning and serving.

Serve within about 5 days of churning.


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Published: September 2004