Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What's Better Than a Bowl of Gelato?

I don't know about you, but doesn't a big bowl of gelato sound delicious? I think so. Then again, you might ask, why is the lactose intolerant girl wanting to make gelato? Say hello to my new ice cream machine! 

I must admit, my first ice cream attempt was not pretty. My sister and I "tried" to make vanilla ice cream with bananas, walnuts and chocolate chunks (what I like to call, our verison of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, mmm). The instructions noted that the base needed to be frozen for at least 18 hours prior to use. Seriously? We want ice cream now! So, we proceeded to freeze the base for a few hours and see what would happen. Yep, that didn't work. So, I put the base back in the freezer (this time for 6 hours since the instructions did say it could take 6 - 12 hours to fully freeze depending on the freezer) and attempted to try again later that evening. The good news is that the ice cream got all creamy and delicious, but once I put in the mixings, the ice cream turned back into a melty mess. Dang. Guess the instrustions were right - you really do need to freeze the base for at least 18 hours.

After ice cream attempt #1 failed, I thought what better way to start my cooking blog then to make what it was named after, stracciatella. No, this is not the Italian egg drop soup (that recipe will come later), it's the gelato! It's a delicious vanilla bean custard base with ribbony flecks of bittersweet chocolate. Kind of like chocolate chip ice cream, but way better. If you have an ice cream maker, you have to try this. It's custardy sweet, but not too sweet. It's even better if the chocolate didn't flake all the way and you get big chocolate chunks in every other spoon full. Even if you don't have an ice cream maker, you can follow David Lebovitz's steps on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker - http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/making-ice-crea-1/

Note: I did buy a candy thermometer for this recipe, but I don't think you really need one. As long as the eggs are cooked for 5 - 7 minutes and they are nice and thick, and coat the back of a spoon, you should be fine. Just make sure to keep whisking and don't walk away - not even for a second. Otherwise you will have scrambled eggs. Trust me, scrambled eggs is not a gelato flavor you want to try.

Stracciatella Gelato (courtesy of http://www.epicurious.com)

Yield: Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours (includes chilling and freezing time)


2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3/4 cup sugar

5 large egg yolks

Pinch of kosher salt

1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place milk in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a simmer, whisking often. Whisk sugar, yolks, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return to saucepan; stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and a thermometer registers 170°F-175°F, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Strain into a medium bowl. Stir in cream. Chill custard until cold, at least 2 hours.
Stir chocolate and oil in a small sauce-pan over low heat until melted; let cool.
Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Slowly add all but 1 tsp. melted chocolate during the last 30 seconds of churning (chocolate will form small chips). Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle remaining chocolate over gelato in zigzag lines. Serve immediately. 

Note: My ice cream machine made this deliciousness in about 20 minutes. You can eat this right from the machine (if you like it in more of a soft serve consistency), or you can place in an airtight container in the freezer to harden up for a couple of hours. Both ways taste delicious, but there is nothing better then taking a big bite of homemade gelato right from the machine. Yes, I did do that. I'm not even going to lie. It was delicious!


  1. YUM! I need to get me an ice cream maker. I plan to make so many delicious treats!

  2. This was such a steal at costco - $25! Couldn't pass it up (I want to try soy cherry ice cream next!).

  3. Apparently the term "Thermal Mass" doesn't mean anything to you. :) I must admit that that is an unusual ice cream maker, since it doesn't use melting ice in salt, so it must use an extremely cold source. I'll bet it would work even better if you set the base on a piece of dry ice for about 15 minutes before you used it.