Who Know Making Home-Made Gelato Was So Easy
For my birthday, my wife threw a party in our back yard and we made pizza in a wood burning oven. One of my neighbors came over with a giant box and said don’t drop it and don’t turn it upside down. At the end of the night when everyone was gone and cleanup was done, I unwrapped the big box only to find a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker. Wow! What a generous gift and they’ll be receiving a lot of homemade ice cream and gelato in the coming years.
Over the weekend, my youngest daughter and I tried our hand at making some gelato. We decided on a flavor based on ingredients we had on hand so we ended up making fresh strawberry gelato and chocolate macadamia gelato. The recipes in the book that came with the gelato maker had to be adapted in order to work with our ingredients. For example, we used the wild berry gelato recipe for our strawberry gelato and substituted macadamia nuts for hazelnuts for the chocolate gelato.
To Cook or Not to Cook – A Very Good Question
In the recipes for ice cream and gelato that came with the Cuisinart machine, they bring the milk and cream to a simmer to reduce the base for gelato but not for ice cream. I wondered if this was unique to their machine and did a little research. I found that some gelato recipes do use heat and others do not but I’m pretty sure classic gelato recipes cook the ingredients down until they are thick enough to coat a spoon.
There are different types of ice cream / gelato makers. Some require you to first freeze the container you make the gelato in while others, like the one I was using, do not. Depending on the model you own, follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.
What’s the Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream
If you ever asked yourself what’s the difference between ice cream and gelato, check out my post describing the two and how they are similar and different. See Difference Between Ice Cream & Gelato
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Gelato
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread - we used Nutella
3/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
How To Prepare At Home
Combine cream and 1-1/2 cups of the whole milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
While the cream/milk mixture is heating, combine the remaining 3/4 cup whole milk, cornstarch, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
As soon as the cream/milk mixture comes to a simmer, add the milk/sugar mixture and stir to combine. Whisk in the Nutella and keep stirring until this mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture thickens until you can coat the back of the spoon with it. This can take 10 to 15 minutes depending on your stovetop.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature. The recipe says to strain this mixture and we did, but I’m not sure to what avail. There was nothing in the mix that was strained out. If anyone has a reason for this, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Cover the bowl and stick into the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. I read somewhere that the longer you let this mixture sit, the more the flavors get incorporated. We could only wait about 4 hours.
According to the instruction manual, “chilling the mixture is not required….but this step will prevent any ice or fat crystals from forming during the freezing process for resting it in a chilled environment helps bind the ingredients together.”
Before adding the chilled mixture to the gelato maker, re-whisk to make sure all the ingredients are well combined. Follow the instructions provided by your manufacturer’s booklet for the right amount of time. My machine said to process for about 30 minutes and add the chopped nuts after 25 minutes. The gelato will be soft and creamy and delicious but if you want it firmer, like I do, stick it back into the freezer for about 2 hours.
You “should” remove it from the freezer 15 minutes before serving if you can possibly wait that long. I could not.
This stuff is amazingly good and you because it does not have as much air in it as ice cream, a little goes a long way.
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