We make ice cream at home quite a lot and I've posted several ice cream recipes in the past. But I get asked enough about how to make gelato that I thought it was time for a post.
The big question for people is what is the difference between American ice cream and Italian gelato? When people taste gelato, they comment on the intensity of flavor and the different texture it has. Gelato is very dense and this is because there is not the amount of air whipped into it like American ice cream. Ice cream has a lot of air whipped into it and it makes for a lighter texture. Ice cream is also made from cream and sometimes eggs and has quite a bit of butterfat. Gelato has much less butterfat and is made from milk.
The question is - can you make gelato at home? I don't think that you're ever going to replicate the incredible gelato that you can get at a really good gelateria but you certainly can make a very delicious gelato at home. There are many different recipes for homemade gelato and you can have a lot of fun trying different ones to see which you like. You do need to have an ice cream maker. We have a Cuisinart ice cream maker, which is very popular. Lots of people have these and probably even more have them stored way in the back of some cupboard and never use it. But if you haven't tried homemade ice cream yet then break out your ice cream maker and see how easy this gelato is.
I'm giving you two different recipes here. One is from A16, the terrific Italian restaurant in San Francisco. Many gelato makers add liquid glucose and liquid dextrose to their gelato because these kind of sugars prevent ice crystals from forming. In this recipe, Jane Tseng, who makes the desserts at A16, adds light corn syrup, which is a good substitute.
One recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder and one uses melted bittersweet chocolate. The tastes are slightly different (my husband prefers the cocoa powder) and you'll just have to make two batches at two different times to decide which you prefer!
Gelato at a real gelateria is kept in special freezers so it does not freeze hard. You obviously won't be able to do this at home, so just take the gelato out 10-15 minutes before you plan to serve it.
for a printable recipe, click here
adapted from A-16
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 70 percent cocoa)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place 2 tablespoons of the milk in a small bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch to make a slurry and set aside.
In a pot, add the remaining milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk in the slurry, corn syrup, sugar and salt. Return the mixture to a boil and whisk in the chocolate until completely smooth. Transfer into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight to make sure it is completely chilled.
Whisk the base and then pour it into your ice cream maker and churn. The gelato should be the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. You don't need to churn it as long as you do ice cream - you want it to just be a custard sort of consistency, not completely frozen. Store in a chilled container in the freezer, with plastic wrap pressed onto the top.
(After the gelato has been in the freezer for a day, take it out about 10 minutes before ready to serve to let it soften up).
- 3 cups milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I sift the cocoa to remove any lumps)
Bring 2 cups of milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat; remove from heat. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup milk with sugar, cornstarch and cocoa in a bowl and stir into hot milk. Cook until sugar and cocoa dissolve. Allow to cool, then cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Process mixture in an ice cream maker. You don't need to churn it as long as you do ice cream - you want it to just be a custard sort of consistency, not completely frozen.Store in the freezer in a container with plastic wrap pressed right on top. It's best the day you make it. If it freezes hard, just remove it 10 minutes before you plan of serving it.
And because so many of you have asked about my knitting, here is a little peek on the chullo I'm working on right now. Stay warm!