The ChocolateDoctor’s Wisconsin Red Cocoa Frozen Custard (Inspired by Gilles Frozen Custard—Milwaukee, WI)

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

My partner, Joan, grew up in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a great dairy state and one of their claims to fame is Gilles Frozen Custard down the road a piece in Milwaukee. Joan has talked about them for years. When I finally tasted their custard, I have to admit they have the smoothest egg custard I’ve ever tasted.

Now, don’t confuse frozen custard with ice cream—there is a big difference. Ice cream and frozen custard are both made with milk, cream and sugar, and then frozen. The additional ingredient that gives frozen custard its creamy texture is egg yolk. Another difference is the equipment. A continuous custard machine pumps less than 20% air into the custard mix. The result is the creamiest, most delicious frozen dessert one has ever tasted.

Most people don’t have that type of machine on hand, so we’ve made up for it in this recipe by stepping up the butter fat content of our custard mixture to a whopping 22% (ordinary ice cream is about 10% to 15%). Keep your cardiologist’s number on speed dial.

Allow 24 hours to make this recipe
Prep time: 24 Hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Ganache Sauce, gently melted
1-1/3 cup sugar (250 grams)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (Nielsen-Massey)


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color; set aside.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder and 1 cup of the half and half together in a saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and whisk until smooth.
  3. Whisk in remaining half and half and cream.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  5. Add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  6. Whisk in about 1/3 cup of hot cream mixture to temper. Add another 1/3 cup, whisking until combined, then add another 1/3 cup and whisk. Gradually add all remaining cream mixture to egg mixture to form the custard.
  7. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over low to medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 170°F to 175°F and will just coat the back of the spoon.
  8. Pour the custard into a clean bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes uncovered. Stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste.
  9. Cover the custard and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions for about 25 minutes.
  11. Transfer to a lidded tub and freeze until ready to serve.

ChefSecret: The reddish color comes naturally from the Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

If you find yourself in Milwaukee for any reason at all, stop by Gilles and tell them Joan sent you. They may not know who she is, but if enough people tell them she may get a free cup the next time she goes home.

Gilles Frozen Custard
Milwaukee’s Oldest Custard Stand—Since 1938
7515 W. Bluemound Road
Milwaukee, WI 53213
Hours: Sun: 11:00am-9:00pm, Mon-Thu: 10:30am-10:00pm, Fri-Sat: 10:30am-11:00pm
Phone: 414-453-4875

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