What does the Prime Minister of Canada have to do with chocolate? I'll tell you...Last Thursday the whole family spent the afternoon in downtown Ottawa celebrating Canada Day with thousands of other face painted, flag wearing, red and white clothed Canadians. We made our way to Parliament Hill to hear Justin Trudeau and the Governor General speak and found ourselves joining a happy bunch of patriotic people, singing along with the Canadian performers, cheering and waving our flags at the speeches, and stretching out our hands when Sophie and Justin greeted the crowds before they left.
Once the festivities were done, it took a while to get off the Hill, and when we finally did, we found ourselves standing right in front of the Stella Luna Gelato food stand with only 2 families in the line-up. Kismet! They had 8 flavours available and with 5 people in the family, some getting two scoops, we were able to taste every one. My favourite flavor, and it was hard to choose, was the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan. Silky, thick and rich chocolate with a subtle hint of bourbon, toasted pecans and surprise hits of gooey chocolate ganache. On a hot and festive downtown day, it was the perfect treat. It was no surprise to learn that Stella Luna had just won the 2016 Bronze Medal for The Americas, in the Gelato World Tour, with this flavor.
Now, normally I wouldn’t try to replicate something this perfect BUT Stella Luna is 4 hours away from my home AND I happen to have a lot of superb DesBarres chocolate handy, which I thought would make an excellent gelato. So for World Chocolate Day I’ve made my own version of the chocolate bourbon pecan gelato.
For the gelato I used one of our new 72% test bars with beans from OKO Caribe in the Dominican Republic; a beautiful chocolate flavor with smooth and subtle red fruit notes. I thought the ganache should have a bit of bite, so for that I used the Ambanja 85%, the Madagascar bean, and I convinced Erik to let me use a few tablespoons from his bottle of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Whisky – so yummy.
Stella Luna made maple glazed pecans for their gelato but I really wanted a bit more a bourbon taste and I loved the idea of a salty sweet nut - so I made Bourbon glazed roasted salted pecans for the nut.
Needless to say it was delicious (more than once). I had to taste it a few times to be sure and then make it again to make sure the recipe worked!
Here’s the recipe for your World Chocolate Day.:
Chocolate Bourbon Gelato with Toasted Pecans and 85% Dark Chocolate Ganache
(I based the gelato on Ina Garten’s Deeply Chocolate Gelato recipe)
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ bars of DesBarres chocolate, finely chopped.
4 extra-large egg yolks (save the egg whites)
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 egg white (left over from the gelato)
1/2 tablespoon bourbon
1 cup pecan halves
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bar DesBarres chocolate
1 ½ tbs heavy cream
For the gelato custard, heat the milk and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Don't allow the mixture to boil.
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and pour the custard through a sieve into the same bowl. Stir, add in bourbon, vanilla and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.
Meanwhile, begin making the nuts by lining a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk egg white with bourbon until frothy. Stir in pecans, mixing until moistened.
In a separate small bowl, mix together sugar and salt until combined. Sprinkle over nuts, stir to combine and spread onto pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 F, stirring every ten minutes ( I used my toaster oven - it was too hot a day to turn on the oven).
While they are cooking you can make the ganache as long as you remember to keep stirring the nuts. Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Heat the heavy cream in a small sauce pan until it starts to simmer (will happen very fast) and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and chocolate is melted.
Place the nuts and the ganache in the fridge to cool.
Once the chocolate custard has chilled, pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. Once the gelato is done stir in the nuts and chunks of the ganache by hand before putting into a container ( or eating it!). Always allow gelato to thaw slightly before serving.
Here's how to find Stella Luna and other food trucks in Ottawa:
Food Trucks in Ottawa: http://streetfoodapp.com/ottawa
Stella Luna Gelato: http://www.slgelato.com/