Sorbet recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2007); Focaccia recipe from Saltie, in Brooklyn; the brilliant idea to put the two together in perfect union by Marian Bull, a friend and former Food52 editor. —Kenzi Wilbur
12 to 16 sandwiches, depending on the size of the bread you cut
David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet
2 1/4 cups
(555 ml) water
(75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
(170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 1/2 cups
active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it's melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and a sticky dough forms—no kneading required. Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil into a 6-quart plastic food container with a tight-fitting lid (or a large bowl). Transfer the focaccia dough to the plastic container, turn to coat, and cover tightly. (If you're using a bowl, wrap tightly and thoroughly in plastic wrap, making sure there's plenty of room in the bowl for the dough to rise.) Place in the refrigerator to rise for at least 8 hours or for up to 2 days.
When you're ready to bake—I've found that a 2-day rise is best, but 1 will work just fine—oil an 18 x 13-inch baking sheet. Remove the focaccia dough from the refrigerator and transfer to the prepared pan. Using your hands, spread the dough out on the prepared pan as much as possible, adding oil to the dough as needed to keep it from sticking. Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise until it about doubles in bulk The rising time will vary considerably depending on the season. (In the summer, it might take just 20 minutes; in winter, it can take an hour or more.) When the dough is ready, it should be room temperature, spread out on the sheet, and fluffy feeling.
Preheat the oven to 450° F.
Pat down the focaccia to an even thickness of about 1-inch on the baking sheet, and then make a bunch of indentations in the dough with your fingertips—like you're playing chords on a piano. Dimple the entire dough and then drizzle the whole thing again with olive oil. Sprinkle the entire surface of the focaccia evenly with sea salt.
Bake, rotating once front to back, until the top is uniformly golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then slide out of the pan. Use the same day.
Once the bread is cool and the ice cream is frozen, slice the former into squares (whatever size you like is fine), and cut those through their bellies to make top and bottom slices of bread. Pile on a scoop or two of ice cream, sandwich together, and serve immediately. (It's wise to have napkins nearby.)
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.