Ask the Alchemist #44

I’ve always wondered if it would be possible to thin out a liquid ganache with some regular milk and run it through an ice cream machine. (Mine is a counter-top model that has a canister which is frozen prior o use, and has a paddle that stirs the mix as the canister freezes it.) Would that make a really simple ice cream recipe or would it be too rich or break, or just not freeze well? Suggestions?

So, the research begins. After a little cogitating, it came to mind that this seemed that this would come out more like something I had as a child. Ice milk. In a rather odd turn, I found almost no recipes for ice milk to base this answer off of. That kind of seemed like a dead end. So instead I put a few recipes together on paper (well, a spread sheet really) and noted that the main thing that is missing in what you are suggesting are the eggs. And I’ve seen lots of ice cream recipes without eggs. And as it turns out, it was kind of interesting that the recipe I settled on was almost the exact recipe for the ice cream, just minus the eggs.

Ice Cream with eggs

2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (with lecithin), chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt (smoked salt anyone?)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ice Cream without eggs

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
As you can see, there is just a touch more cream and chocolate. But that is not what you asked. Continuing on, a standard ganache is about 1 c cream to 1 lb of chocolate which gives you about 1.5 cups of ganache. Keeping that in mind, If you use about 3/4 cup of ganache, you will have 1/2 cup of cream and the chocolate you need for the recipe. If you want to add just milk, then go for it, and the recipe would look like this:

3/4 c ganache
3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
And I hope you notice – there is sugar there you still need to add. Close enough in my book. The catch is that this is most likely not going to be quite ice cream, but most likely, as I originally thought, more akin to ice milk. Now, if you really want ice cream the solution is pretty simple. Just add milk and cream and it should be near perfect.

3/4 c ganache
2 c cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
To review:

Can you just dilute ganache and make ice cream?

No. There is not enough cream nor sugar.

Can you use ganache with other ingredients and make some ilk of frozen dessert?

Yes. Sure can and it’s your call if it’s milk or cream…just don’t forget the sugar.

And yes, you could leave out the sugar (you can do anything you want) but it’s most likely going to be rather hard and crystally and not very much like what you want.

Finally, it certainly is not going to be too rich.  It may be a little hard depending what your choice of liquid it.  Most likely, if your ganache did not break (i.e. separate), neither will your ice cream/milk.  Basically, in lieu of a custard base, you have a ganache base, so the chances of success are pretty high.

Good luck.

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