Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fruit Gelato

If Ice Cream Four Ways is my go-to recipe for non-fruity frozen treats, the following gelato recipe is one I turn to for anything involving fruit. The original recipe is for strawberry gelato and I found it on The Bitten Word, who got it from Bon Appétit. It was so delicious and smooth that I've since made it with blueberries and peaches. I'm sure it would be great with other fruits, too, such as raspberries or huckleberries.

Like the ice cream base in Ice Cream Four Ways, this recipe is low on eggs. In fact, the original recipe doesn't even call for eggs, but I felt it needed a little something so I add one yolk. The major differences between the gelato recipe and the ice cream recipe is that the gelato recipe calls for a small amount of cornstarch and does not use the whipped cream technique. I love this recipe because the fruit is really the star--there is more fruit than dairy. While this can lead to some iciness (especially in super-juicy fruits like the peaches), it is well worth if for the intense fruit flavor.

I had some beautiful farmers' market strawberries in my freezer in February when I made this the first time for family dinner. I used frozen farmers' market blueberries the next time and just this past month used fresh RAMA peaches for a peach gelato to top peach upside-down cake.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 c. evaporated cane juice
1 TBSP cornstarch
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
2 1/4 c. sliced hulled strawberries or blueberries or chopped peaches or other fruit

DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine cane juice and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan
  2. Whisk in milk and cream and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 5 min
  3. Turn off heat and move pan to another burner. Let mixture sit 5 minutes or so
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with a fork. Whisk in some of the hot gelato base and then add that mixture back into the saucepan
  5. Return to a low heat and cook for a minute or two until the base thickens a bit more. According to Cook's Illustrated, I'm sure my egg yolk should have curdled because the custard was too hot, but after several times making it, I've never had an issue. The cornstarch needs to get hotter than the egg yolk, so that's why I do it this way
  6. Cool the custard over an ice bath, add vanilla extract or lemon juice if using, then put in the fridge
  7. If using strawberries or raspberries, simply puree them and strain them to get the seeds out, if desired (what a lot of work that is!)
  8. If using blueberries, huckleberries, peaches or other stone fruit, bring the fruit to a low boil over medium heat to help concentrate the flavors. In the case of peaches, you might even want to separate the fruit from the juice and reduce the juice to a thick syrup before pureeing to reduce the chance of iciness. Another good idea would be to take 1/4 c. of the sugar and macerate the chopped fruit in it for at least an hour to soften and draw out the juices--this would make it easy to get the juice for making a syrup. You would still want to cook the peach pieces for a few minutes, as well, to make them soft. Puree the cooked fruit and let it cool
  9. Combine the cooled gelato base and fruit mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and then churn in an ice cream maker according to instructions

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