David Lebovitz's Naked Chocolate Ice Cream for Lovers

July 24, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2 chocolate loving lovers
Author Notes

I originally submitted this to the "in the raw" contest and then decided to take the "in the raw" theme in a slightly different direction. This ice cream is naked chocolate-- for the chocoholic, for the person who dreams of chocolate, only orders chocolate desserts, celebrates every occasion with chocolate. It is decadent, rich, dark, thick and sexy. The technique of using cornstarch as a thickener is adapted from David Lebovitz, and results in an ice cream that is all about the ingredients. So it goes without saying that you need your best chocolate, cocoa, and vanilla. The base of this is a really delicious chocolate pudding. I bought an ice cream maker a couple of summers ago, and found David Lebovitz's recipe for Fleur de Lait ice cream in The Perfect Scoop. He used cornstarch, so I tried it with this chocolate ice cream and everyone loved it. You can really taste the chocolate, cocoa and even the vanilla as if there are exclamation points around them. I've also used this technique to make a salted caramel ice cream, and it's quite wonderful.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Naked chocolate ice cream. Share it with someone you love. —drbabs

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: drbabs is a longtime Food52-er from Long Island.
WHAT: The silkiest, most luscious chocolate ice cream you'll ever make.
HOW: Make a custard base using cornstarch as a thickener, then freeze.
WHY WE LOVE IT: If you're a chocolate-lover, then you've found your soul mate. And we love the technique that comes along with the recipe -- using cornstarch as a thickener for an ice cream base yields a product, as drbabs says, that is all about the ingredients. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups Half and Half, divided (or you can use 1.5 cups of heavy cream and 1.5 cups of whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered espresso
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons creme de cacao or liqueur of your choice
  1. In a large saucepan heat 2 cups of half and half, cocoa, sugar, salt, and espresso, stirring so that all ingredients are completely blended.
  2. Whisk cornstarch into remaining half and half until smooth and thoroughly incorporated. Stir this into chocolate mixture. Cook on medium-medium high heat, stirring constantly until the base begins to boil and becomes noticeably thicker.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, chopped chocolate and liqueur, stirring until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is very smooth. Cover with wax paper, pressing down so skin doesn't form, and chill till cold.
  4. Pour (scoop out with small spatula--it's thick) custard into ice cream freezer and process according to manufacturer's directions. Store in freezer if not using right away.
  5. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving if you can wait that long.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jasser Abu-Giemi
    Jasser Abu-Giemi
  • Donna Ramos
    Donna Ramos
  • Joan
  • PRST
  • mary walton
    mary walton

47 Reviews

dickensthedog November 11, 2020
The taste is wonderful, but 3 tbl alcohol was too much - it prevented the mixture from freezing in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. I recently bought a brand new canister, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t the machine’s fault. Nonetheless, I left the mixture in a container in the freezer overnight, and it was still unfrozen this morning. FYI, I used Pierre Fernando dry curaçao, which is 40% alcohol. .
drbabs November 11, 2020
I'm so sorry that happened.I suspect it's the 40% alcohol. The liqueurs I've used are around 20%.
dickensthedog November 11, 2020
Well, that explains it. I am certainly not giving up on this delicious ice cream : )
Izzy1959 July 1, 2020
I made this 6/28/20. So VERY simple to mix together and the end result was a decadent, silky smooth super rich almost reminding me of ganache. I love the concept of thickening with cornstarch and the fact that this ice cream is 'eggless'. For fun, I folded in some crushed chocolate wafer cookies which just created a little 'crunch'. It's a keeper in MY recipe book. Actually, its a "two-fer", as the base is an EXCELLENT chocolate pudding. I hand churned this in a 2 qt Donvier Ice Cream maker. Thanks for putting a smile in my Summer!
drbabs July 1, 2020
I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.
Jasser A. August 22, 2016
My cocoa didn't mix in well. What brand do you suggest? I ended up with chunks of cocoa powder.
drbabs August 22, 2016
Oh, I'm so sorry. Was it kind of chunky when you put it in? Sometimes cocoa powder has to be sifted or it all clumps together. I usually use Penzey high fat or Hershey dark chocolate cocoa powders.
Donna R. July 26, 2014
Hi Barbara, what could you use instead of the creme de cacao or liqueur that non alcoholic?
drbabs July 26, 2014
Hi Donna. You can just leave it out. I use alcohol to try and make it freeze less hard, but you can just take it out of the freezer for a few mutes before serving it. (In a pinch, I've run the container in the microwave for about 10 seconds if it's too hard to serve also.)
Joan July 12, 2014
I'm getting the ingredients together to try this today!
PRST June 3, 2013
Note to self: Fleur de lait ice cream needs cream!! What was I thinking???? I think Barbara's recipe above worked with whole milk due to the cocoa and chocolate.
drbabs June 3, 2013
Yes, the cocoa and chocolate probably add the fat that's missing from the milk alone. Don't fret-- I've done that, too, when we were craving ice cream and we only had milk in the house. Stir some mix-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, m&ms, pretzels?), and it will be ok.
PRST June 3, 2013
Barbara, I LOVE the recipe! I am about to put David's Fleur de Lait ice cream in my ice cream maker- made entirely with whole milk. I'll let you know how that turns out. I did add some Tuaca liquor for fear that it might turn out icy.... Not my usual style to delete cream/half and half from a recipe but thought it was worth a try.
PRST June 3, 2013
Congrats on the wild card win!!! Although I am in the egg custard camp, I thought I would give your recipe a try. I used Valhrona cocoa ( my fav) and whole milk- no half and half. Very nice texture and still tasted creamy. I also used Sabra- a chocolate and orange liquor from Israel, deleted the espresso powder and added a 1/4 tsp of Fiori di Sicilian yielding a delicious chocolate orange flavor. The recipe is a keeper when I want something lower in calories! I think next time I would also decrease the sugar to 3/4, the amount used in David's Fleur di Lait ice cream as I thought the ice cream was a tad too sweet- maybe changing the flavor contributed to the sweeter taste. Many thanks for the recipe. We love ice cream in this household!
drbabs June 3, 2013
Thank you so much for trying my recipe and for commenting! I'm glad you liked it.
mary W. June 1, 2013
Yeah natural ice cream without eggs. Chocolate yea my dreams have been answered.
drbabs June 1, 2013
Thank, Mary. I hope you like it.
lcq2104 May 29, 2013
When you say "ice cream freezer" are you referring specifically to an ice cream maker or just a thing that keeps other things cold?
drbabs May 29, 2013
This is what I use: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-20-Automatic-2-Quart-Cream/dp/B00000JGRT/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1369868539&sr=8-6&keywords=Ice+cream+freezer
hardlikearmour May 28, 2013
Congratulations, drbabs! What a well-deserved wildcard win.
drbabs May 29, 2013
Thanks, hla!
Kukla May 27, 2013
Many Congratulations Barbara on the Wildcard Win!
drbabs May 27, 2013
Thank you, Kukla.
Heidi R. May 27, 2013
Hi! Do you think I can make this in my Vita Mix???
drbabs May 27, 2013
Yes, I think so.
What would be the process for the Vitamix? My husband bought me one and I am afraid that I just use it as a high power blender. I haven't figured out how to convert other recipes yet.
drbabs May 29, 2013
I don't know, other than to blend everything together. Does your vitamix have instructions for making ice cream? (I don't have one.)
BoulderGalinTokyo September 8, 2012
What a name, what an idea! With a daughter allergic to eggs, everyone can enjoy the same dessert. Looks like the perfect recipe for our 35th wedding anniversary!
lapadia June 29, 2011
Did somebody say Chocolate? ?? I remember my mom using cornstarch with pudding/custards (way back), and I followed her lead, however, never thought of turning it into ice cream...thanks for sharing, drbabs!
drbabs June 29, 2011
Hi Linda. The base of this is a really delicious chocolate pudding. I know that most people are definitely in the eggs as thickener camp. I bought an ice cream maker last summer, and found David Lebovitz's recipe for Fleur de Lait ice cream in The Perfect Scoop. He used cornstarch, so I tried it with this chocolate ice cream and everyone loved it. You can really taste the chocolate, cocoa and even the vanilla as if there are exclamation points around them. I've also used this technique to make a salted caramel ice cream, and it's quite wonderful.
lapadia June 29, 2011
I am definitely not in the egg camp, (especially with ice cream) and as I mentioned, my mom used cornstarch, for her custards. David Lebovitz = thumbs up! I don't own The Perfect Scoop, but have browsed through it. Cheers to your delicious chocolate experiment. A salted caramel ice cream?...is it here and I didn't see it? Oh, with all the entries on F52 now days, that is probably why, and knowing how you like and make ice creams & sorbets, you must check my newest blackberry sorbet, when you have the time! Finally....Chocolate ??
drbabs June 30, 2011
I didn't post the salted caramel ice cream--I made it last summer adapted from one of his recipes, but I didn't change it much so I can't really claim it as mine. Here's the link to his blog: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/04/salted-butter-c/

He uses eggs in this one, interestingly, and I substituted the cornstarch mixture on the theory that the butter and caramel were rich enough. I also roasted some pecans that were dusted in sugar and mixed those in at the end. I'm moving this weekend, but look forward to trying your sorbet.
boulangere June 28, 2011
Love your interpretation of raw! I've never tried David's cornstarch method. If you say it yields good results, I trust you, and I'll give it a try.
drbabs June 28, 2011
It's really interesting how it enhances the clean flavor of whatever you're making. Look at this recipe of his for pistachio gelato:
(And thanks for your trust. I'm honored.)
boulangere June 28, 2011
Oh, seriously, I'm anxious to try it. I adore David. Every time I've seen him, his hair is a different color. It's terribly easy to get bound up in "classic" methods of doing things. This isn't the "classic" custard preparation for an ice cream. Is it easier? Heck, yes. Most important, is it good? Obviously, if you're willing to go "raw" for it!
boulangere June 28, 2011
Oh, I can't believe I forgot this: happy anniversary!
drbabs June 28, 2011
Thanks, boulangere! (I've had a little mini-crush on David L. for a long time.)
boulangere June 28, 2011
I'm trying to meet up with him in Paris in a few weeks. I'll let you know his hair color. Such a great guy!
boulangere June 29, 2011
Invite him to the party!
hardlikearmour June 28, 2011
Wow! I'm in love!
drbabs June 28, 2011
Thanks! And congratulations on your finalist status in the Whole Foods contest--I voted for you!
boulangere June 28, 2011
Whoa! What Whole Foods contest?
hardlikearmour June 28, 2011
Thanks, drbabs! Much appreciated. The Whole Foods Market Cooking has recipe contests every couple of weeks. If one of my food52 recipes is applicable I'll enter it. The one currently being voted on is for Party Beverage and my recipe for Tea Thyme (& Bourbon) Soda is one of the finalists.
Sagegreen July 28, 2010
This sounds OTT!I am going to have to get an ice cream maker! For now I just mix in dark cocoa powder and expresso to vanilla ice cream.
drbabs July 29, 2010
That sounds really good, too!
mrslarkin July 24, 2010
Oh, Dr. B., you've done it again. Your header describes me to a "T"!!
drbabs July 24, 2010
Make it! It's so easy.... If you don't have an ice cream maker, it's a really good pudding.