Before Italy, I had never heard of Gelato. It is a wonderfully thickand creamy version of ice cream. It is thicker, and the recipe has less air and less butterfat than traditional ice cream. It comes in thousands of flavors. From Nutella, Stracciatella, Tiramisu, Pistachio, Strawberry and Lemon. When I was in Italy, at first taste, I was hooked. I was obssessesed! It was all I could think about! Ok… one of the only things. I had it twice a day for 2 weeks. Since then, I have to have gelato every chance I get. I can buy CiaoBella Gelato in my local gourmet store, which is a close representation, but you can have it delivered right to your door. It is hard to find the real stuff, so occasionally, when time allows(time… what is that?) I break down and make my own. Here is a recipe for my favorite flavor, nocciola (hazelnut) courtesy of Italian Cooking by Carla Capalbo.
1/2 cup hazelnuts (filberts)
2 cups milk
4 in. piece of vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1. Spread nuts out on a cookie sheet and place under broiler for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan frequently to turn the nuts over. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Place nuts on a clean dish towel, rub with cloth to remove skins. Chop nuts very finely or grind in food processor with 2 tbsp sugar.
2. Make the custard. Heat the milk with vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Remove from heat as soon as small bubbles start to form on the surface. Do not let boil.
3. Beat egg yolks. Gradually incorporate the sugar, beat for 5 minutes until mix is pale yellow. Add milk and pour thru a strainer and discard the vanilla bean. Stir until all milk has been added.
4. Pour mix in top of double boiler. Add nuts. Stir over moderate heat until mixture thickens enough to coat back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and cool.
5. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers directions. Eat immediately or freeze. Next time… we will explore Gelato vs. Ice Cream.