Nik Sharma, A Brown Table

Nik Sharma is a multi-award-winning freelance food writer and photographer. He also writes a recipe-based food column for the San Francisco Chronicle called A Brown Kitchen and is also the author of the blog A Brown Table. He is currently working on his first cookbook, Season (Chronicle Books), which will be published in October 2018. He lives in Oakland, California.

Spiced fruit and nut chocolate ice cream

As a kid my favorite way to each chocolate was to break it into bits and mix it with dried fruit and nuts. This grown-up version of ice cream draws inspiration from that fond memory with a little bit of added warmth from the cayenne pepper and a sprinkling of bourbon.

Yield: Makes 1 generous quart (around 4 cups)


6 dried figs, chopped
¼ cup mixed raisins
2 Tbsp chopped cashews or other nuts such as walnuts
3 Tbsp bourbon
1 ½ cups heavy cream
6 oz Guittard Eureka Works 62%, chopped
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sugar
3/4tsp ground cayenne
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
6 large egg yolks


Mix the figs, raisins, and cashews in a medium bowl and sprinkle the bourbon. Cover with a lid and keep aside until ready to use.

Heat ½ cup of the cream in a medium-saucepan on medium high heat and remove from heat as soon as it starts to bubble. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and stir with a spatula until smooth. Keep aside. 

In the same saucepan, heat the milk, remaining cream, sugar, salt and cayenne on medium until the sugar is dissolved and the milk just starts to boil. Remove from heat and transfer ½ cup of the hot liquid into a medium-bowl with the yolks. Whisk until smooth. Then pour this tempered yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Return the saucepan to the stove and heat on medium with constant stirring, scraping the sides as it thickens. Remove from heat once the liquid acquires a custard like consistency and reaches 185F. Remove from heat and stir in the melted chocolate-cream mixture until smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps and transfer to a gallon ziptop bag and seal. Submerge the bag in an ice water bath to chill completely. 

Spiced fruit and nut chocolate ice cream

Prepare the ice cream as per your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions. Add the dried fruit and nuts about 5 minutes before the ice cream is ready to be removed from the device. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight freezer safe container and let it firm up for at least 4 hours before serving. 

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