13 May 2012

Gelato...it's really this easy!

"WHY???" was the word roaring through my head!  Why have I never made gelato?  Because I thought it would be a total pain in the a**.  Cooking, freezing, sticky, icy texture at home.....the list was long!

I took the plunge this week as I had an abundance of eggs and during one of the cleaning sprees, found the kids old-ish ice cream maker.

It's not a fancy ice cream maker, in fact I think I bought it on clearance more than a few years ago.  Hamilton Beach brand with a bowl that you freeze for 24 hours before churning.  Compact, easy to assemble and clean, a big enough hole in the top for additions and it churned out my gelato in less than 35 minutes.  I could see how timing might be an issue, yet most gelato base recipes suggest you make the base 24 hours in advance too.  I looked into other fancy ice cream makers and they were a larger capacity and had all sorts of features, but I really wasn't up for spending $100+, dealing with any type of ice/salt, or having another large appliance to store in my crowded kitchen and many still had a bowl to freeze.  Once you got into quasi commercial, watch out...pricing was in the thousands!

I started with the chocolate base recipe first (of course!) and also made a plain base which taste similar to a custard.  I found the whole process to be simple and about 15 minutes of hands-on time.  I'm really surprised that I enjoyed making this so much!  I am really excited to try my hand at sorbetto next and maybe add some extra goodies to the gelatos!


2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs
1/4 pound chocolate- 60%-finely chopped ( I used Callebaut 67%)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Valrhona natural cocoa powder)
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar

A note on chocolate/cocoa powder; 
I used different cocoa powder and a darker chocolate than the recipe called for however, with amazing results!  You can easily change to regular dutch cocoa powder and a lower percentage chocolate if you want a more mellow chocolate flavor/sweeter finished gelato.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine sugar and egg yolks and whip with a wire whisk until mixture turns a pale yellow.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add milk and cream.  Attach a candy thermometer (or any heat safe thermometer you use) and bring to 170 degrees, then remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder and chopped chocolate until completely melted.

Add about 1/2 cup of  hot milk to egg/sugar mixture and stir until combined.  Repeat this step, then pour egg mixture into remaining milk in saucepan and stir until combined.

Return pan to medium heat, attach thermometer and bring to 185 degrees, stirring frequently until thick but not boiling, then remove from heat.

Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean storage bowl.  Allow to cool slightly and then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Place base mixture into ice cream machine and churn until desired consistency.  Machine times will vary.  Mine took about 35 minutes at most.

Eat it straight out of the machine like we did, or put into a freezer container and freeze until almost solid.  Gelato will have a softer texture than traditional ice cream (and less fat!).

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