I saw an article recently that advocated giving children a 1970s summer – which was defined as letting them watch lots of TV (Love Boat! Charlie’s Angels!), eat whatever they want (Fritos! Kool-Aid!), and play outside. I didn’t know we now needed the media to tell us to do these things. This was pretty much how I spent most of my summers growing up, even into my teen years, when I had a series of summer jobs where I got paid for watching other people’s children watch TV (I want my MTV!), feeding them whatever they wanted (Jeno’s pizza!), and taking them out to the local playground. It was one of the best jobs I ever had, if not the best. I still can’t believe I got paid for it.
Apparently, the summer I’m giving The Child is retro-cool: She sleeps until noon or so, then flops in front of the tv, watching South Park, and eating breakfast cereal and Nutella. Sometime in the early evening, I offer her something for dinner, and she says she’s not hungry. The Nutella supply is being depleted at a pretty brisk pace, not really a surprise given that it’s being eaten straight from the jar with a spoon, and in true 1970s mom fashion, I don’t consider this to be a problem, except that the partially consumed jars are often left where the dog can get them. Also, it’s starting to add up.
I need a way to stretch my Nutella dollar.
I start researching Nutella recipes on the internet, and rapidly become overwhelmed: Nutella is a shining star in the food blog universe, possibly a whole constellation. But then The New York Times published an article titled The Only Ice Cream Recipe You’ll Ever Need. I saw it and thought, that’s handy, because there are any number of cookbooks on the subject and if this works out, I don’t have to buy any of them – further stretching my food (and thus, my Nutella) dollar. It turns out the recipe helpfully includes a Nutella variation, and luckily, there was just enough Nutella left in the pantry to make it.
The Times did not lie. The base recipe is simple enough, and though I had a bit of trouble keeping the heat sufficiently low as I cooked the custard, the few slightly-too-large curdles came out easily when strained. The resulting ice cream texture was magnificently smooth, and the flavor was perfectly rich, but not overwhelmingly so. The end result was a glorious bowl of Nutella that can – and should – be eaten with a spoon.
I was kind of mad at myself for not having any bananas on hand, because this ice cream cries out to be made into a banana split. The original recipe as printed in the Times contains numerous variations to add flavorings. Peanut butter, it seems to me, would pair well with Nutella, but then again, so would vanilla. Or strawberry. Or maybe all three in a sort of Neapolitan banana split. The possibilities are near limitless, and summer has only just begun.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1 tsp vanilla
- In a small pot, simmer cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in Nutella and vanilla. Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until needed.