Swiss coupes are basically ice cream sundaes, swathed in cream and sometimes dotted with fruit or doused in liqueur. They come in all standard dessert flavours and many, like this one, are specialties of a particular restaurant or region.
The ultimate classic, however, sold in probably every restaurant in Switzerland, is the Coupe Dänemark. It is incredibly simple, vanilla ice cream served with a little jug of chocolate sauce, and because pretty much all of the ice cream in Switzerland is delicious, it's a safe bet. Nothing extraordinary, but delicious nonetheless.
The two best ways to sell dessert, a chef once told me, are to make it either nostalgic or do-it-yourself. Either something that tastes like childhood or something you have to actively do: pour something, roast a marshmallow, etc. This one hits all the buttons, and perhaps the combination of flavours, along with the simple act of pouring a sauce, make it the perpetual favourite it is today.
500 ml milk
15 g cornstarch
30 g cream cheese, soft
300 ml whipping cream
150 g sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
You need to make three separate mixtures.
Medium pot: 450 ml of the milk, cream, sugar, scraped vanilla bean and pod, and salt.
Little bowl: 50 ml of the milk and cornstarch, whisked well.
Large bowl: cream cheese, whisked to loosen.
Put the pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, for a few minutes.
Take the pot off the heat, and when the boil has subsided, stir in the cornstarch mixture.
Put the pot back on medium heat, and cook for about a minute, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Pour slowly into the large bowl with cream cheese, whisking constantly.
Now let the mixture cool a little (until it isn't steaming anymore) and cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly to the surface of the mixture.
If you would like the mixture to cool quickly, you can set the bowl in a cold water bath (or sink filled with cold water). Otherwise you can let it cool on the counter and then put it in the fridge.
When the mixture is fully cooled, spin in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- If you don't have any vanilla pods, use vanilla paste or extract.
- Corn syrup is not easy to find in Switzerland and was omitted from this recipe without issue. If desired, it can be added it to the milk and cream mixture in the pot.
- For maximum flavour, let the mixture sit overnight.
- Finely chop 200 g of chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.
- Warm 275 ml of cream over medium heat. Keep an eye on this, as cream boils over very quickly.
- Once the cream comes to a boil, pour it over the chocolate and do not stir.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least five minutes.
- Whisk the mixture vigorously, until it all comes together into a glossy sauce.
- If you like, or if it is too thick, whisk in a shot of spirit.
A little more cream or slightly less chocolate will make a runnier sauce, and vice versa.