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Going out for ice cream is a summer tradition, and while I love a good scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day, I’m finding that we head out in search of gelato more often than ice cream now. I used to think they were the same thing, but after a few summers visiting my favourite gelato shop and then making it myself, I finally understand how gelato is a different treat than ice cream.

Ice cream is made up of cream and flavouring. When you make it in your ice cream maker you’ll use heavy cream, milk, and whatever additions you’d like to add. Gelato, on the other hand, is created from milk, mostly skim sometimes whole, for a lower milk fat content.

The consistency of gelato is different from ice cream too. When you process it in an ice cream maker you don’t let it churn for as long as you would ice cream. Turn your ice cream maker off when your gelato looks like custard. You won’t think it’s done, but let it freeze for a few hours and scoop: it will be light and delicious. You can also use a gelato maker for perfectly light gelato.

When making gelato you can use all sorts of flavours, but one trick I’ve picked up is to use soft, overripe fruit. The flavour of the fruit will really pop, and it’s the perfect recipe to use up ripe strawberries or blackberries.

It’s a long weekend so the perfect time to get a little creative with your ice cream maker. Here’s some gelato recipes I’ve tried that you might want to dig into this weekend.

 

3679196.jpgHazelnut Gelato

My daughter is a huge nutella fan, and when we go to the gelato shop her favourite treat is hazelnut gelato so I tried this recipe at home. My tip: after it’s been in the freezer for a few hours, drizzle some melted nutella on top and re-freeze. It’s adds a nice touch of flavour. Photo and recipe from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup white sugar
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 Directions

Combine milk, cream, and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes.

Beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar together in a bowl until mixture is light yellow, about 4 minutes. Stir 1/2 cup milk mixture into egg mixture until smooth; pour into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan, stirring continuously. Cook, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 8 to 10 minutes; remove from heat.

Stir chocolate hazelnut spread, espresso powder, and vanilla extract into milk mixture until well combined; pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Refrigerate mixture until cold, about 3 hours.

Pour milk mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

 

picck47gs.jpgBlackberry Gelato

I have about 3 acres of blackberries. I’m not joking: they run rampant on this property and although eventually we’ll clear a large portion of them, for now we just enjoy going for walks and grabbing berries off of the bushes as we go. We’ve just got into blackberry season but there are a ton of huge, ripe berries waiting to be used. This blackberry gelato is the perfect way to do that. Note: this recipe uses ½ cup of heavy cream but you don’t have to use it. Just add an extra ½ cup of whole milk instead. Photo and recipe from food.com.

Ingredients:2 cups fresh blackberries
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
34 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
12 cup heavy cream
14 teaspoon salt

Directions

Put blackberries in a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl; press them through the mesh with the back of a wooden spoon, scraping the pulp gently across the mesh to extract as much juice and solids as you can while leaving the seeds and skin behind (be sure to cover up to protect clothing from splatters).

Set strained puree aside but do not discard the seeds in the strainer.

You should have about 1 ¼ cups blackberry puree.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk or electric mixer at medium speed until pale yellow and thick, like a grainy paste, about 2 minutes.

Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles dot the pan’s inside rim; do not boil but adjust heat to keep the mixture this hot.

Whisk about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture until smooth, then whisk this combined mixture into the remaining hot milk mixture until smooth.

Immediately decrease heat to very low—if you are using an electric stove, move the pan to an unused burner just now set on low.

Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture rises slightly in the pan and is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes.

Add a small amount of the custard to the sieve with the blackberry seeds, and push them again against the mesh into the bowl with the blackberry puree, thereby getting the last amount of pulp out of the seeds.

Discard the seeds and wash the strainer.

Strain the remaining custard into the bowl with the puree; add the salt and stir well.

Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Freeze the custard in you ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve at once or transfer to a freezer container, seal tightly, and store in freezer for up to1 month; soften at room temperature for up to 10 minutes before serving.

 

homemade-ice-cream-e1404774589496.jpgBlue Smurf Gelato

Blue smurf is a flavour you’ll see in every gelato shop, and it has a taste that’s a bit raspberry, a bit cotton candy, and not at all like a smurf might taste (according to my son who, to the best of my knowledge, has never actually eaten a smurf). This is my own recipe that I adapted from seriouseats.com. I made it a few years back and shared it on my blog and I’ve received a lot of comments from other moms who were looking for that elusive blue smurf recipe.

Ingredients:2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon raspberry flavouring
1 teaspoon lemon oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon blue gel food coloring (about 2 drops)

Directions

 In a medium bowl lightly beat egg yolks with a 1/4 cup of sugar and set aside.

In a medium saucepan add milk and remaining sugar. Whisking occasionally, heat mixture over medium low heat until bubbles begin to form along the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add heated milk mixture to the eggs one tablespoon at a time while whisking constantly to temper the eggs.

Once the milk mixture and eggs have been combined return to the saucepan and heat on medium low until mixture coats back of a spoon or spatula and line drawn with a finger leaves a distinct trail. Mixture should register 170° to 175° F, do not allow mixture to overheat.

Pour custard into a medium bowl and whisk in vanilla pudding mix until thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in raspberry flavoring, lemon oil and vanilla extract until thoroughly incorporated. Set bowl over an ice bath. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, then cover and refrigerate for 2 more hours or up to overnight until completely chilled.

Churn until it resembles custard and transfer into a bowl or container that will hold 1 quart. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours to fully set. Serve.

It’s a lot of fun making gelato, and you can get really creative with it after you learn the basic steps. Add in some cookies, sprinkles, nuts, or chocolate chunks and see what happens. I’ve never spoiled a batch yet.

Here’s a few kitchen tools you can use to make gelato.

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Hand cranking your gelato is fun if you want that homemade touch
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I’ve been using my Cuisinart to make gelato and it works great
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Step up your gelato game with your owngelato maker