Recipe: how to make delicious gelato in your own home

29th July, 2016
When wandering the sun-kissed streets of Italy, youíll find it impossible to resist on a hot summerís afternoon some delicious scoops of creamy gelato. Gelato is an Italian variety of ice cream much creamier and softer than regular ice cream, and is available in a variety of flavours. While youíll find it for sale at gelaterias near many of our luxury villas in Italy, it is a little harder to come by once you arrive back home. If you love gelato just as much we do, fortunately thereís a way you can recreate this classic dessert in your own home. This recipe is used to make gelato di crema, the basic variety of gelato, though other ingredients such as fruit puree, chocolate and nuts can all be added during the process.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 500ml milk (or ideally 250ml milk and 250ml cream)
  • 150g sugar (ideally caster sugar, though granulated sugar is also fine)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod, split down the side, or a piece of lemon zest, for flavour (optional)

Combine the milk (or milk and cream) together in with half the sugar into a saucepan, as well as the vanilla pod or lemon zest if you are using them. Warm up the pan so the contents are almost brought to the boil, and remove the pan from the heat as soon as bubbles begin to appear on the surface. To get the most flavour out of your vanilla or lemon zest, warm the pan up as slowly as possible.

Once the pan has been taken off the heat, leave it to cool. Take the other half of the sugar and put them together with the egg yolks into an electric mixer. Turn on the mixer so that it beats the yolks on a high setting, and allow the two to mix until they combine completely. As the mixer combines the ingredients, you should begin to see ripples emerge in the mixture, with the end result having a creamy texture.

Next, turn your electric mixer onto a lower setting. Remove the vanilla pod or lemon zest, if used, from the cooled milk mixture, before slowly and steadily pouring the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Allow the electric mixer to work until everything has been well combined.

Bring all of the mixture back into the saucepan, and heat gently. The eggs should begin to thicken as they begin to warm up, turning to the consistency of a thin custard. Ensure you donít heat the mixture for too long, however, as the eggs may begin to curdle. As you warm up the pan, gradually increase the heat from low to medium, stirring regularly. Once you feel the mixture beginning to thicken, lower the heat immediately, and continue until your mixture has reached a nice consistency.

After it has been sufficiently thickened, remove the mixture from the heat. Pour it into a bowl and allow it to chill in the fridge for around an hour. To prevent a film from forming on the top, you should stir the mixture time to time as it chills.

Once the mixture has been chilled, add it into an ice cream maker and allow the machine to work according to its instructions. Typically, the machine should churn the mixture for 20-30 minutes. The result will be a soft-serve gelato, ready to eat instantly. If youíd rather save it for later and have a firmer gelato, allow it one or two hours to freeze. For a soft gelato to eat after it has been frozen, allow it around 15 minutes to defrost before eating.

Image: Lauren Jong, available under Creative Commons