It is officially Ice Cream Season in Paris. This means that all of the chocolate shops, from La Maison du Chocolat to the more low-brow Jeff de Bruges, have little ice cream carts set up outside of their stores, and are scooping ice cream all day into French-size (ie not what you’d find at your neighborhood Braum’s) cornets. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing people happily walking around eating ice cream — in the middle of the day! They are not on vacation. It is not a special occasion. It is the season for ice cream, much like it is the season for strawberries, asparagus and now, cherries, and when something’s in season around here, you eat as much as you can.
And as you all know, eating what’s in season is the right thing to do.
The other day, before I twisted my ankle for the third time this month and landed, this time – along avenue Foch, flat on my back, feet in the air, dog leash in one hand and Iphone in the other, still talking to my friend Suzanne — I’d made a batch of custard for vanilla ice cream, which I’d decided would be transformed into my childhood favorite, chocolate chip.
After I hobbled back to the apartment, my jeans covered in dirt, I pulled the bowl of custard out of the fridge and poured it into my little ice cream maker and turned it on. I melted down some chocolate while it was freezing.
Truth is, I probably shouldn’t have been talking on the phone and walking at the same time. This seems to be too much multi-tasking for me right now, because in my head is always stuff like this: Hmmm, I need to cut that broccoli soup recipe in half. Do I have enough broccoli to do that tomorrow, or do I need to go to the store? No, I should wait for the market, when the broccoli’s fresher and the prices, cheaper. What day is it? Wednesday? Market’s on Friday. I’d really like to do that tomorrow, though. Oh, and the biscuits in the freezer. I need to make them, and time them. The black-eyed peas in the fridge…must measure them. How many recipes have I tested this week? Only three? I’m way behind.
And on and on.
Really, it’s a miracle that I don’t fall down more often.
I scooped out some ice cream about a half hour later, got on the bed with an ice pack on my ankle, and watched Law & Order.
I felt better, as I always do after homemade ice cream. My ankle’s still recovering, and I’ve not made it back to yoga yet, but I think that I know what may help. ‘Tis the season, after all.
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Makes 1 ½ quarts
3 cups milk
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups cream
1 tesspoon vanilla
4 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate (don’t use chocolate chips)
1. Put your milk in a heavy saucepan, and turn the heat on medium.
2. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add sugar and salt, and mix well.
3. Get out a clean, medium-size bowl and pour in the cream and vanilla. Put a mesh strainer on top. You’ll pour the custard through this in a few minutes.
4. Now, when the milk begins to show tiny bubbles along the side, it’s ready (you don’t want the milk to boil).
4. Temper the eggs by pouring a little milk into the bowl, slowly and whisking constantly. Once the eggs are warm, add egg mixture to saucepan and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken and can coat the back of a spoon. Pour the custard into the bowl with the mesh strainer, remove the strainer, and give it a stir to combine the cream and vanilla.
5. Cool mixture in an ice bath, then refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until ready to freeze.
6. When you’re ready to make your ice cream, pour the custard into your ice cream maker, turn it on, and at the same time, melt the chocolate on the top of a double-boiler. When the ice cream is ready, drizzle the chocolate into the ice cream maker – slowly – and let it churn and break up into little pieces. Sometimes the chocolate gets a bit stuck and clogged in the dasher, but don’t worry too much about this – you can break it up with a spoon.