Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CSA week two - Chocolate and roasted avocado ice cream

The combination of chocolate and avocado is unusual, but not entirely unheard of. I understand that chocolate-avocado milkshakes are common in Viet Nam and Indonesia. I can see how the creaminess of the avocado could work; as for the flavor, well, I've got a Monroe so it hasn't got much. Using it as is would have been the easy way out, but I decided to try to intensify the flavor and then see what I could do with it.

I chopped up the avocado, sprinkled it with brown sugar for caramelization--I considered adding a bit of butter as I would if I were caramelizing bananas, but it's got plenty of fat of its own--and baked it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring a couple times. If you compare the before and after pictures, you can see that it's shrunk considerably. The flavor isn't, I think, a lot more intense, but it has transformed. There are a lot of warm, toasty notes now.

Still, the cup of caramelized avocado wasn't really enough to flavor a full batch of ice cream so I looked around for some additions that would pair well without overwhelming it. And also I wanted to use up some scraps left in the refrigerator. Here's what I came up with:


1 cup caramelized avocado mush
1/4 cup pineapple
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup cream
3 Tablespoons dutch process cocoa
1/3 cup light brown sugar

I blended all that together and put it in the back of the refrigerator to chill. The texture seems about right at this point so that's good, but I'm still concerned the flavor isn't bold enough to survive freezing. I may add some spices after I taste the fully chilled mixture.
Actually, the flavor intensified, but it did turn somewhat bitter. I added another quarter cup of sugar to compensate.

So, to churning. It froze very quickly. Look how it glommed onto the dasher. I've never seen quite the like before and I don't think that bodes well for the texture of the final result. I was hoping the fat in the avocado would help keep things creamy, but I don't see that happening. The fat's not there in the mouthfeel either. It feels like sherbet despite all the cream that went into it. Here's hoping that ripening will help.

And here's the final product. The fact that I didn't bother to deal with the freezer burn is probably a biasing factor, but I think despite that, you can see that that it's not terribly attractive. The texture could be creamier--it's definitely more sherbet than ice cream rich--but it melts smooth if you let it warm up out of the freezer for a while before serving. I'm going to blame the roasting here as there are plenty of avocado ice cream recipes that don't appear to turn out like this.

The flavor starts with cocoa, clearly not intense or creamy enough to really feel like chocolate, with a little tropical fruitiness rounding it out and fades into bitter roasted notes not dissimilar to those you get with very dark chocolate. There's definitely a note of avocado there at the end, too, but difficult to identify if you don't know what you're looking for. It might just be an off note if you're expecting straight chocolate (upon which this is definitely no improvement). It just seems like cheap nasty chocolate ice cream. I'm going to take this back home before it ruins my reputation around the office.

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