As we all know, Father's Day was yesterday. I knew for a long time that I wanted to find Ryan an ice-cream machine. That way we could make fresh ice cream, in any flavor we wanted, as often as we wanted. At first I felt kind of bad, because it was kind of a "gift for me" (I'd be the one using it), but then I remembered how Ryan probably wouldn't mind getting ice-cream more often. I found the ice-cream machine, wrapped it up in bright green wrapping paper, and set it next to his Sunday morning breakfast.
I had to be a little sneaky about the ingredients - we don't usually buy a pound or so of strawberries with groceries. Ryan was wondering what they were for, and I had to divert the question. Strawberry ice-cream is one of his favorites! I couldn't wait to make it for him at home.
A while ago, my mother-in-law let me borrow a wonderful book of beautiful Italian desserts: The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto (F. W. Pearce & Danilo Zecchin). Every page is loaded with the most mouth-watering gelato recipes you've ever seen. Now that we have an ice-cream maker, I jumped at the opportunity to try one of them out.
Gelato, to me, tastes a thousand times better than ice-cream. Don't get me wrong, ice-cream is the bomb. But gelato is sure something else... it's velvety, creamy, but not too creamy, and has the perfect texture.
I had a little trouble making my first batch of gelato. I was too anxious to make it, and didn't let the ice-cream tube thing freeze all the way in the freezer before starting the gelato. I've now learned that I need to put the tube in the freezer a day or two early.
However, the gelato came out perfectly! And Ryan loved it so much, he ate some for breakfast this morning. It was a win-win, and I can't wait to try some other flavors as the summer continues on.
First you make the plain base, then you can add whatever flavors you want to it!
Fresh Strawberry Gelato
recipe from The Ciao Bella book of Gelato and Sorbetto
2 C whole milk
1 C heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 C sugar
In a saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring so skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches 170 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks very slowly, and whisk continually. 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 reaches a temperature of 185 degrees. Do not boil.
Pour the mixture through a mine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl, let cool to room temperature, stir every 5 minutes or so. To cool quickly, put bowl in an ice bath. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Plain Base (see recipe above)
1 lb strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1/4 C sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
Make the Plain Base and chill as directed.
Place the strawberries in a medium saucepan, sprinkle with sugar, add lemon juice, toss until the sugar is dissolved (and strawberries are well coated). Let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place the pan of strawberries over medium-low heat and cook until strawberries soften completely and the syrup begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.
Reserve a quarter of the strawberries and syrup. Place the remaining strawberries in a blender, add half the base, and blend until fully incorporated. Whisk into remaining base.
Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Add reserved strawberries about 5 minutes before churning is completed. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
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