I really think Chip and I are meant to live the Italian lifestyle… while on our honeymoon, we became pizza connoisseurs, had wine with lunch like true Italians and on multiple days had gelato more than once. We absolutely loved it! So in honor of our short time in Italy, we’ve had several homemade pizza nights here at home and also made our own gelato last summer. I’ve been waiting all spring for it to be officially warm enough to bring our ice cream maker out again. Luckily, this day finally came yesterday. Our church was having their annual ice cream social and was the perfect way to inaugurate the homemade gelato season.
While Chip took his CFA exam this past Saturday, I spent some time trying to pick out a good recipe (I think I had the better end of the deal!). I used a recipe from a book we got as a wedding gift called The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto. With a name like that, you know the recipes are going to be good! After going through some of last year’s favorite recipes (which include stracciatella and chocolate nutella), I decided to make a strawberry gelato for the first time. After I got our ice cream maker bucket in the freezer, I got to work on the base for the gelato (recipe posted below for whomever wants to make this!). Once I got the base chilling in the refrigerator, it was time to start working on the strawberries. This recipe calls for cooking a pound of sliced strawberries on the stove and then having that mixture chill, too.
I had both of these mixtures chill overnight and finished the gelato Sunday morning before church. The first step on Sunday involved blending 3/4 of the strawberry mixture with half of the gelato base.
Once this was all nice and mixed together, I whisked it into the remaining amount of the gelato base…
This mixture then goes straight into the ice cream maker. We have a pretty simple model from Cuisinart but it gets the job done really well :) We let the ice cream maker run for 20 minutes and then added the remaining strawberries for an additional five minutes. After that, we put the gelato into a tupperware bowl and had it freeze all day before taking it with us to the ice cream social in the afternoon. We’re going to consider this recipe a success since we came home with an empty tupperware dish! Maybe our future pizzeria will have a gelateria on the side… :)
Plain Gelato Base recipe:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170F.
- Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185F. Do not bring to a boil.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Strawberry Gelato recipe:
- Plain base gelato
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Make the plain base and chill as directed.
- Place the strawberries in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle with the sugar, then add the melon juice; toss until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are well coated. Let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place the pan of strawberries over medium-low heat and cook until the strawberries soften completely and the syrup just starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours (the strawberries can be prepared a day ahead).
- Reserve a quarter of the strawberries and syrup. Place the remaining strawberries in a blender or food processor, add half of the base and blend until fully incorporated. Whisk into the remaining base.
- Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the reserved strawberries 5 minutes before the churning is completed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.