Friday, November 7, 2014

Luxury vanilla gelato

The very best, warm vanilla flavor is acquired by steeping a vanilla bean in warm milk and then scraping out the tiny black seeds from inside the bean. The seeds give a lovely appearance to the gelato, too.

* Makes about 1 1/4 pints

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped

Heat the milk and vanilla bean to scalding, remove from the heat, and let steep for about 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean, wipe dry, and make a slit down one side with a sharp knife. Open the bean and with a long thin knife, scrape the tiny black seeds into the milk.

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and creamy. Whisk in the warm milk and then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Cool.

When completely cooled, fold in the whipped cream. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or hand mix. Stop churning when it is almost firm, transfer to a freezer container, and leave in the freezer for 15 minutes before serving, or until required. This gelato is best eaten soon, but it can be frozen for up to a month. Take out 15 minutes before serving to soften slightly.

  • Stracciatella gelato

Prepare the basic recipe, stirring in 3/4 cup dark chocolate shavings or flakes when it is almost frozen.

  • Cinnamon & prune gelato

Prepare the basic recipe, adding 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the milk. When the gelato is almost frozen, stir in 3/4 cup pitted prunes that you have poached in a little water until soft, cooled, and puréed.

  • Christmas marrons glacés gelato

Prepare the basic recipe, adding 4 tablespoons brandy, and churn until almost firm. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped marrons glacés (candied chestnuts).

  • Gooseberry crush gelato

Cook 3 cups gooseberries with 1/4 cup superfine sugar. Purée, strain, and cool. Stir the purée into the partly frozen gelato. Continue churning until firm.

  • Rhubarb fool gelato

Cook 3 cups chopped rhubarb with 1/4 cup superfine sugar (or more to taste) and 2 tablespoons water. Purée, strain, and cool. Stir the rhubarb purée and 2 stiffly whipped egg whites into the gelato when it is partly frozen, then continue freezing as in the base recipe.

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