Friday, July 15, 2011
A couple years ago I was making and blogging about so many different ice creams, I almost thought I should start an all ice cream blog. My enthusiasm for making ice cream has not lapsed, I just have gotten delinquent about posting new flavors (and pretty much anything I make). Also, there have been many flavor repeats. I took advantage of the holiday weekend last week to spend some extra time in the kitchen - seriously, even Josh had trouble keeping up with the output - and one of the things I made that I was particularly excited about was Stracciatella Gelato.
I think I had assumed that since Stracciatella is difficult to say, it would also be difficult to make. Luckily that was not the case at all. It was made with a basic gelato base and then melted chocolate was swirled in at the end. The recipe gives you the option of mixing it by hand or adding the melted chocolate as your ice cream machine is churning at the end, and I opted for the latter. I did need to give the ice cream mixture a couple good stirs after I turned off the machine though, just to ensure the chocolate was well-distributed. There are only two ounces of chocolate, but this method ensures you get crisp bits of chocolate in every bite. This gelato is wonderful on its own, but I will say it is also good paired with really stellar chocolate chips cookies, if you are so inclined. :)
Stracciatella Gelato, from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
In a heavy-bottomed, 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 170 degrees.
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 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 185 degrees. Do not bring to a boil. [Note: I needed to turn the burner to medium-low, rather than low, as it was taking a very long time to reach 185 degrees.]
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every five minutes or so. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing he bowl with custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least four hours or overnight.
Gently whisk the vanilla into the base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the gelato is churning, place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water; the bottom of the bowl should be just above the water, not touching it. Stir until just melted. You’re working with a small amount of chocolate, so it will take only a few minutes to melt. Watch closely so it doesn’t overheat, which can cause the chocolate to break up and start to burn. Remove from the heat and cool until just warm, not hot (about 100 degrees). Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for twenty seconds, then stir. Repeat once or twice as needed until almost all the chocolate is melted; the last bits of chocolate will melt just by stirring.
Just after the gelato is churned, drizzle the melted chocolate in a thin stream over the top and using a rubber spatula quickly fold it into the gelato to create ribbons of chocolate. Alternatively, drizzle the chocolate into the gelato two minutes before the churning is completed.
Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least two hours before serving.