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What'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 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. history 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 (either electric or manual) that uses salt and ice for cooling. If you have an ice cream maker that uses a gel container that you pre-freeze, see these instructions instead! If you are looking for an instruction manual for your ice cream maker, we have them, too! See this page.
There's not much point in trying to make gelato if you need ice for the ice cream maker. For a typical 2-quart ice cream maker, you will need approximately: 2 cups (500 ml) table salt and 8 trays of ice cubes. It is NOT NECESSARY to use rock salt or crushed ice in most units (certainly not the Oster's).
In a large pot ( 4 quarts or larger) with a heavy bottom (for even heat distribution), mix the fat-free milk, Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, and powdered, nonfat, dry milk. Bring the mix to a low simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve the Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , then turn the heat down and just keep it warm.
Separate the egg yolks from 8 large eggs.
Put 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.
While constantly whisking, slowly add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk until it is blended (a few seconds).
Then 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).
Stir 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.
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:
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 canister
and pour the milk/cream/fruit mixture from step 8 into the freezer bowl. and
put the cover on the canister. Put the canister in the cream maker.
Layer ice and salt solution as follows:
A. Pour 1 cup (250 ml) cold water into Ice Bucket.
B. Place a 1 inch (2.5 cm) layer of ice cubes around Cream Canister in Ice Bucket.
(Hint: Cream Canister should stand straight while layering.)
1/3 cup (75 ml) table salt or 1/4 cup (50 ml) Kosher (coarse)
salt on ice.
D. Continue layering ice and salt to the top of the Ice Bucket.
E. Pour 1 cup (250 ml) cold water over top ice layer.
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!
From time to time, add more ice cubes and salt as needed.
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 ice cream 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!
Hey, once it reaches the consistency you like, it's time to eat! That's it! You made great homemade gourmet gelato!
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