No-churn chocolate gelato

I was sceptical about the various no-churn chocolate ice cream recipes I’d seen on the internet. 3 ingredients? No specialist equipment? No endless whisking and refreezing? Surely the taste wouldn’t match the hype?! After the first batch, I was completely hooked and now our freezer is never without it.

I’ve fiddled about with the quantities of the three main ingredients to give the best rich chocolate taste and to make sure it uses the entire standard UK tin of condensed milk. Your gelato can then be pimped in any way you fancy. My favourite additions are a pinch of flaky sea salt and a sprinkle of cocoa nibs – absolute heaven! And not a bad impersonation of my favourite gelato flavour from Chococo.

Just the gist

Chocolate, sea salt and cocoa nib gelato

  1. Whip 500 ml double cream until thick, but not holding its shape.
  2. Stir 50 g cocoa powder and 1 tin condensed milk together.
  3. Fold the chocolate mixture into the cream with a pinch of sea salt and 2 dessert spoons of cocoa nibs.
  4. Freeze in a 1 litre tub for 10 hours.

Want a bit more detail? Read on…

Chocolate, sea salt and cocoa nib gelato

Makes 1 litre, plus an extra 150 ml*

500 ml double cream

1 x 397 g tin condensed milk

50 g unsweetened cocoa powder

1 large pinch sea salt flakes (I use Maldon)

2 heaped dessert spoons cocoa nibs

  1. Whip the double cream until thick and aerated, but not quite holding its shape. It should be slowly pourable.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir the condensed milk and cocoa powder together until smooth.
  3. Beat in about a third of the whipped cream to loosen the mixture, then fold in the rest with the sea salt and cocoa nibs until no longer streaky.
  4. Fill a 1 litre plastic tub (I use an old Carte d’Or container), put on the lid and pop it in the freezer.

If I make it in the morning, it’s usually ready by dinner time, so about 10 hours of freezing for optimal scoopage. If it’s been in the freezer for a few days, it’s best to get it out 10 minutes ahead of time before you serve.

* I like to try out different flavour combinations with the remaining 150 ml to inspire the next batch – here are some of my favourites!

  • finely chopped crystallised ginger
  • a few drops of local peppermint oil
  • finely grated orange zest and a pinch of Aleppo chilli flakes
  • Alternatively, leave it unadulterated and enjoy it as an extra bonus pot when you get to the end of the big tub!

As with any chocolate flavoured dessert, the quality of the cocoa powder you use is all important. I’ve used Green & Blacks for years, but when it was hard to come by during lockdown, I discovered The Raw Chocolate Company’s cacao powder in my local health food shop. I love the depth of flavour that you get when the cocoa hasn’t been alkalised, and that fact that heat-processing has been kept to a minimum makes it seem virtuously nutritional! They also sell the cacao nibs that give this recipe a Stracciatella-style crunch. Cocoa nibs seem a bit tough and woody at first bite, but the flavour is incredible: the sort of peated whisky, cigar box notes you get with really good coffee beans and some mature red wines.

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