Vanilla gelato is the ultimate neutral base for merging flavors and textures. Any time is a good time for homemade gelato, and I made it yesterday for Valentine’s Day. When the vanilla-infused custard finished churning, I tossed in some flecks or bits of milk and dark chocolate. Yum. I’ve also used mint chocolate on occasion. Nothing fancy here but completely delicious, especially if you like chocolate chip ice cream. Unlike traditional ice cream, this gelato is 2 parts milk and 1 part cream. You will need an electric ice cream maker and a candy thermometer.
Ingredients: Milk, cream, sugar, pure vanilla extract, egg yolks, pinch of salt and good quality chocolate. Quality ingredients make a difference.
The milk, cream, half the sugar and salt are heated to a simmer. Then the eggs and remaining sugar are whipped until thick and pale yellow. The hot mixture is slowly added to the mixer and blended on low speed to combine.
The mixture is heated again, then transferred to a bowl – covered and chilled in the fridge (preferably overnight) to thicken.
The next day, chop the chocolate.
Place the frozen cylinder in the ice cream maker and turn it on. Pour in the custard and let churn for about 25 minutes (or according to manufacturer’s directions).
The last few minutes (of churning), drop in the chocolate bits.
Work quickly and transfer the gelato to a freezer container. Place in the freezer until hardened (about 3 hours).
Chocolate Chip Gelato
Makes about 1 quart
2 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
Pinch of kosher salt
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 pound dark or milk chocolate bits (or a combination of both)
Freeze the ice cream maker cylinder bowl for 24 hours prior to use.
To a 2-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, add the milk, cream, 6 tablespoons of sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches a simmer (about 10 minutes). Pour the mixture into a 4-cup heatproof measuring cup and set aside. Reserve the saucepan for reuse.
In an electric mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and the remaining sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow (3 to 4 minutes). With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and attach a candy thermometer. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the thermometer reaches 180 degrees F. (do not allow it to boil). The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium-size bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for several hours, preferably overnight.
Pour the custard into the frozen cylinder bowl and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions (about 25 minutes). Drop the chocolate bits/flecks into the opening of the machine, 2 minutes before churning is complete. Working quickly, remove the gelato from the cylinder and place in a freezer container. Cover the top of the gelato with plastic wrap, secure the lid and freeze to harden for about 3 hours. Allow the gelato to soften before serving. To store, cover the gelato in the same manner and freeze for up to 1 week.
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