Friday, November 25, 2011


I am fully aware that a gelato recipe doesn't belong on a blog about eating healthy & working out.  However, most of us spluge on dessert sometimes.  I love ice cream & gelato.  When it's homemade, you can control the quality of your ingredients & create flavors you probably couldn't find at the grocery store.  I made this last year to accompany baked pears.  

Adapted from two recipes in Making Artisan Gelato by Torrance Kopfer & a recipe I found online.

Read through the whole recipe before starting so you know the right order of things & so tempering isn't a surprise :)  The entire process with take about 3-4 hours, so make sure your kids are entertained (if you have kids) & you aren't multi-tasking!

  • 1 heavy bottomed medium saucepan (I used a enameled cast iron dutch oven)
  • 1 medium & 1 very large bowl (I use stainless steel)
  • enough ice for an ice bath made of the med bowl nested in the large bowl (this will be used near the end to stop the custard from cooking)
  • flat ice cream paddle (a sturdy spatula, flat wooden spoon, or large spoon will also work) I bought mine at Sur La Table.
  • medium sized bowl or measuring cup, at least 2 cup capacity (something that won't move when you 1-handedly whisk hot milk into eggs)
  • fine mesh strainer
  • cheesecloth (optional)
  • wooden spoon
  • small grater for nutmeg (if you are using a whole one)
  • cutting board & knife
  • small skillet
  • stainless steel rectangular pan (I bought mine for 4.99 at Smart & Final)
  • 2 pint-sized containers for freezing (I buy them at Serfas.  Smart & Final carries them also)

INGREDIENTS (this will yield ~1 qt)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup honey 
  • 1/4 cup sugar (If you don't have honey or don't want to use it, than use 3/4 cup sugar)
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, preferably Madagascar Bourbon
  • 2 whole nutmegs (freshly grated nutmeg is so much better)
  • 4 large egg yolks (save the whites for something else!)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

First, prepare the vanilla bean & nutmeg:
1. Grate 2 tsp of nutmeg from a whole nutmeg clove.  Toast the grated nutmeg 1-2 min in skillet.  Don't let it burn.  Set aside.  You will use this at the end.  Whatever bit is left of the nutmeg clove, store it.  You won't use it again in this recipe.
2.  Place the other nutmeg clove in a baggie.  Hit it with a mallet, hammer, skillet, split it in half (or large chunks like I did).  Put the chunks in your sauce pan.
3.  Split the vanilla bean in half with a knife & scrape out the seeds.  Place the seeds & the pod in your saucepan. 

Now you'll make the milk infusion:
4.  Pour 2 cups of whole milk into the saucepan.  Stir to combine with the vanilla & nutmeg.  Add 1/3 cup honey, OR 1/2 cup sugar if you aren't using honey.
5.  Place on medium heat & stir occasionally until it's too hot to keep your finger in the mix, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 170 (I don't have that).  Don't let the milk boil.  
6.  Remove from heat, cover, & let steep 30 min.  (After 10 min, remove the nutmeg with a slotted spoon. Save it, because you'll add it back in later!)

** Set up your ice bath  before tempering: ice in large bowl, med bowl nested in large bowl.  **

Next you'll make milk into custard...this is easier than it sounds
7.  Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, add the nutmeg chunks back in, & place the saucepan back on the stove over medium heat.
8.  While it's warming up again (& you're occasionally stirring, of course), whisk 1/4 cup sugar with your egg yolks in a bowl that won't move when you whisk one-handed.  Whisk until foamy & slightly thickened.
9.  Once the milk is hot again (not boiling but very hot to touch, OR 170 on an instant thermometer), turn off the heat.  Now you will temper the eggs with the hot milk.  If you haven't tempered before, READ CAREFULLY.  The goal is to slowly warm up the egg mix so that the hot milk won't scramble your eggs.  You will add a little of the hot milk to the eggs, whisking the eggs non-stop as you add the milk.  I use a ladle to slowly pour in milk.  If they scramble, start over!
   10.  Once about half of the milk has been whisked into the eggs, pour the egg mix into the saucepan & whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk.
11.  Over medium heat, stirring constantly, with a wooden spoon or heat-proof rubber spatula, cook the mixture until it reads 185 on the instant-read thermometer.  How to know it's done without one?  The liquid will thicken into a custard.  The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, so that if you run your finger across the spoon, the line stays.  Once it's at that point, turn off the heat.  

The final steps
12.  Your ice bath should be ready (I set it up before tempering eggs).  Add cold water to the ice.
13.  Emulsify the custard either by whisking by hand or with a stick blender. This ensures that everything is well combined & gives a better texture.
14.  Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the medium sized bowl sitting on the ice bath.  I lined my regular mesh strainer with cheesecloth.  This will remove the threadlike-thing in eggs, any little clumps, & any large spice remnants.  You might have to help it through by pressing it with the rubber spatula.
15.  Stir the custard in the bowl to quickly cool it down.  The book says this takes 20 min....I think it takes less.  Once cool, Add the cream, 3/4 tsp vanilla extract, & the grated nutmeg from Step 1.  Mix well.  
16.  Remove the bowl from the ice bath & carefully dry the bottom.  Pour the mixture into the stainless steel pan.  Carefully place in freezer (make sure you have space before starting!)
17.  Every 15-20 min, hand-churn your gelato with the ice cream paddle.  Make sure the scrape the sides & mix well. The more often you churn, the less likely  ice crystals will form & mess up your gelato.  repeat this for a while....until it looks pretty solid but soft enough to get into containers for freezing.  
18. Carefully spoon into the containers.  Label, & the let them fully harden before serving (overnight).

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