Milk Chocolate-Black Pepper Ice Cream
Makes about one quart (1L)
Recipe adapted from The Perfect ScoopBecause the flavor (and price) of these peppercorns is so special, I chose not to infuse them in the milk mixture, instead adding them at the end. I left them relatively coarse, since I think it’s interesting to get little “bites” of pepper, although these peppercorns are on the soft side. If using another kind of pepper, use your best judgment, depending on your personal tastes. And, of course, feel free to use more or less than I did.
8 ounces (230g) dark milk chocolate (at least 35% cacao solids), broken or chopped
1 1/2 cups (375ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (375ml) creme fraiche or heavy cream, or a combination (see Note)
2 teaspoons Cognac or brandy
1 tablespoon good-quality ground black peppercorns I used Tazmanian peppercorns
1. Put the pieces of milk chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. Then make an ice bath in a larger bowl (or the sink), that you’ll rest the bowl of milk chocolate within later.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
3. Once the milk is warm, slowly pour about half of it into the yolks, whisking constantly, to warm them. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof utensil, until the custard thickens and coats the spatula.
4. Immediately strain the custard over the milk chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the creme fraiche or heavy cream (or combination of the two), the cognac, then the ground peppercorns.
5. Rest the bowl of milk chocolate custard in the ice bath, and stir until cool. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Should the custard get very thick once chilled, whisk it vigorously before adding it to your machine, which will thin it out so it’s pourable.

Note: If using creme fraiche, chill the ice cream within eight hours of adding the crème fraiche; letting it rest in the refrigerator overnight and turn the whole batch a bit too-tangy. If using heavy cream, it’s fine to chill overnight.

If crème fraîche is unavailable, you can use full-fat sour cream.