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Gelato: How to Make Homemade Gelato (directions, recipe, with photos, easy and free)

How to Make Homemade Gelato
Any Flavor
Using a Gel-freezer-container Ice Cream maker!

Click here for a PDF print version

Homemade ice ice cream in a bowlWhat's better than ice cream?  Gelato!  Especially homemade gourmet gelato! Here are complete and easy directions, with step by step photos!

Gelato is a combination of whole (or reduced fat) milk, eggs, sugar, and natural flavoring, usually fresh fruit and sugar.  It is similar to ice cream, but lower in fat (ice cream tends to be 10% to 20% fat, while gelato is 8% or less). Gelato is softer and has more intense fruit flavors; like a sorbet, but more creamy, like ice cream. Historians claims that gelato was invented by Bernardo Buontalenti for the court of Francesco de' Medici in 1565.   You can make plain vanilla gelato, strawberry gelato, peach gelato, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, or many other flavors, even chocolate! This taste as good as any gourmet luxury gelato and better than any gelato you've ever bought in any store!   The only special equipment you need is an ice cream maker that has a bowl you pre-freeze in your freezer. If you have an ice cream maker that requires ice and salt instead of the freezer bowl, see these instructions instead!

If you are looking for an instruction manual for your ice cream maker, we have them, too! See this page.

Directions for Making Homemade Premium Gelato

Ingredients and Equipment

  • 2 cups milk (whole, low fat or non-fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free powdered milk
  • 8 eggs (yolks only needed)
  • 1 cup light cream, half-and-half or fat-free half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker 3 cups of prepared fruit (strawberries, peaches, raspberries, mangoes, or whatever you have! See step 7 for details.
  • 1 ice cream maker
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 wooden or plastic spatula

Instructions

Step 1 - Pre-Freeze your ice cream maker's gel container

Frozen  gel cannister for ice cream makerBefore you even think about making gelato, you better get the gel container in the deep freeze and start it freezing up.  Models vary, but generally, the recommend
the length of time needed to freeze the unit is between 6 hours and 22 hours. It depends on how cold your freezer is. If you have the room, just leave your freezer bowl in the freezer at all times. That way, you can take it out any time for immediate use.

To determine whether the bowl is completely frozen, just shake it. If you don't hear liquid moving, it's frozen!  Before freezing the bowl, wash and dry the bowl, then place the freezer bowl in the back of your freezer where it is coldest. (Note: Your freezer should be set to 0°F for most foods, including gelato!)

Crass commercial message: (Well, I warned you!) - I've tried many different types of ice cream makers over the past 25 years, and the Cuisinart ICE-30BC "Pure Indulgence" is the easiest, simplest, and neatest (as in not messy) ice cream / gelato / sorbet / frozen yogurt maker I've used.  just pop the gel bowl in the freezer and, depending upon how cold your freezer is, within 6 to 12 hours, it's ready to make ice cream, without ice, salt or mess. It also has an opening in the top to add flavorings... or to sample as it freezes.. .YUM! Highly recommended! Blake

On the other hand, the Hamilton Beach model is cheaper, but it doesn't get as good reviews and I haven't tried it.  And if, for some demented reason, you actually want to hand crank for 25 minutes, the Donvier model offers that, um, "pleasure".

 

Step 2 - Heat the milk, Sugar and powdered milk

Nonfat dry milkHeat the milk, Stevia and powdered milkIn a large pot ( 4 quarts or larger) with a heavy bottom (for even heat distribution), mix the fat-free milk, Sugar and powdered nonfat dry milk. Bring the mix to a low simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve the Sugar, then turn the heat down and just keep it warm.

 

 

Step 3 - Separate 8 egg yolks

Separate the egg yolks from 8 large eggs.

 

 

Step 4 - Whip the egg yolks until thickened

Whip the egg whites until thickenedWhip the egg whites until thickenedPut the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until they are thickened (it only takes about 2 minutes.  I use a hand mixer on low speed.

 

 

 

Step 5 - Slowly add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks

Slowly add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg whitesWhile constantly whisking, slowly add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk until it is blended (a few seconds).

 

 

 

Step 6 - Pour the egg yolk mix into the pot of hot milk

Pour the egg mix into the pot of hot milkThen pour the egg mixture back into the pot of hot milk and increase heat to medium. Stir the mixture constantly with a wooden or plastic spoon, until the mixture is thickened (like gravy) and registers between 170°F and 180°F (check with an instant-read thermometer, like the ones with a probe).

 

 

 

Step 7 - Add the light cream and vanilla and refrigerate

Add the light cream and vanilla and refrigerateStir in light cream, half-and-half or non-fat half-and-half and vanilla. Cover and pop into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before continuing on to step 8. Overnight or even 24 to 48 hours is fine.

 

 

 

 

Step 8 - Prepare the fruit

Well, what kind of gelato do you want?  This is the time to decide!  You can add almost any fruit you have!  If you want vanilla, you already have it, just pop the mix into the maker. If you want chocolate ice cream, just add your favorite chocolate syrup, such as Hershey's or Nestle to the mixer in step 10 as it thickens!

For a fruit flavor, well, some fruit work better than others.  You get best flavor if you puree the fruit first in your food processor or blender.  So obviously, fruits like strawberries, raspberries, mangoes, figs and peaches are idea for this, while apples, coconuts and pomegranates might not be such a good choice. 

To prepare the fruit just prepare it as you would for eating, then blend it in your food processor or blender for a few minutes. Here are some tips:

  • Peaches and nectarines: remove skins, pits and bruised areas
  • Strawberries: remove the cap (the green parts)
  • Raspberries: just wash them
  • Blackberries: I like seedless, so I wash them and then run them through a Foley Food Mill to remove the seeds!
  • Figs: Remove stems and bruises
  • Mangoes: Peel, and cut the flesh off the stone.

Step 9 - Mix the milk/cream mix with the fruit

About 45 minutes before you want to serve the gelato, stir the milk/cream mixture together with the pureed fruit. Stir it up well. Remove the freezer bowl and pour the milk/cream/fruit mixture from step 8 into the freezer bowl. Put the bowl in the cream maker. 

 

 

 

Step 10 - Fire up the ice cream maker!

Turn the ice cream maker on and let the maker work until it is thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.

If you are making chocolate gelato, this is the time to add the chocolate syrup.  I add about 1/2 cup of chocolate syrup - I use the Hersey's sugar free syrup, but both the variety and amount are a matter of personal taste preferences!

You can tell when the gelato is done, by simply checking the consistency through the opening on the top of the ice cream maker.  You will also hear the motor straining, as the gelato freezes.  On some units, the directions with the maker tell you to let it work until the motor stalls and stops.

When it is done, the gelato should have a soft, creamy texture. Gelato should be stored in a freezer that is just below freezing (say 30 F), or else it will  become harder - you'll need to thaw it and hand whip it back to smooth and soft!

Step 11 - Enjoy!

Ice cream done, in a bowlHey, once it reaches the consistency you like, it's time to eat!  That's it!  You made great homemade gourmet gelato!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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