From Rome, Italy: Creamy, Dreamy Italian Gelato

In Italy, I ate so much gelato, it’s a good thing I’m not on a diet. Anyone who describes gelato as ice cream is just deceiving you. It’s more like a delicious frozen yogurt, but somehow better, softer and sweeter. Here is the recipe I managed to snag on how to make real, fresh Italian gelato at home.

Fior di Latte:

The most basic Italian gelato is the Fior di Latte. It is simply milk and very little else. Using the Fior di Latte as a base, you can make hundreds of variations using nearly anything imaginable. After describing how to make the Fior di Latte gelato, I will explain many traditional Italian favourites, including Stracciatella, which won the world’s gelato making contest last year. (Wouldn’t you have just loved to be a judge at that event? Mmm!) Of course you can put anything in or on your gelato that you want!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (600mL) whole milk, not skimmed
  • 1 cup (240g) white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (300mL) fresh cream
  • 1 pinch of salt

Preparation:

In a sauce pan, slowly warm the milk over low heat. Once the milk has been heated, add the other ingredients, stirring well until everything is dissolved. It is very important that you do not skald the milk nor caramelize the sugar or else you will end up with a burnt tasting gelato. Once everything is dissolved, take it off the stove to cool.

Want an easy way to tell if the sugar has all been dissolved? Use a silicone spatula to stir your ingredients. When you think the sugar has dissolved, push the spatula against the base of the pot and move it a bit. If it feels a little sandy underneath your spatula, you still have some sugar left undissolved. If you have done this a couple of times and there is no sandy texture under your spatula, you are good to go!

There are many machines and tools to help you make gelato from here. Gelato machines are the easiest because it does everything for you. Don’t happen to have a gelato machine or know anyone who does? Great! You will get the real authentic experience then! Place a pot big enough to hold your mixture inside the freezer to freeze it. Pour the cooled milk and sugar mixture into the pot and place it uncovered in the freezer. Every 45 minutes, stir the mixture to break up the already-frozen parts and to give the yet-to-be-frozen parts a chance to join in on the fun! Freeze the mixture in several smaller containers if you are tight on time. When everything is frozen through, your gelato is ready to eat!

Variations:

After cooling your Fior di Latte mixture, you can add these traditional flavours before freezing your gelato.

Cioccoato Gelato: One cup (80g) of cocoa powder
Crema Gelato: Five egg yolks
Fragola Gelato: Combine 2 cups of fresh strawberries with 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a blender until the sugar is dissolved
Limone Gelato: Combine 2 cups lemon juice with 1 cup sugar and 3 cups water until the sugar is dissolved
Stracciatella: As many shavings of pure milk chocolate as you would like – simple but a winner!

Other flavours to play around with:

Amarena: cherry
Bacio: chocolate and hazelnut
Banana: as the name says
Caffe: espresso
Cocco: coconut
Frutti di bosco: strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, black currant and raspberry
Liquirizia: liquorice
Melone: melon
Menta: mint
Nocciola: hazelnut
Pesca: peach
Pistacchio: try using real nuts
Ricotta stregata: ricotta cheese

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