The traditional Italian gelato is a portion of healthy food in its own right, with excellent nutritional value. It has become so popular that it is no longer a seasonal product but a snack to enjoy during the winter or lunch.
Authentic gelato is a passion in Italy and a very rooted tradition. They sell it in many gelateria stores in every Italian city, even the smallest ones, in large quantities. Some traditional Italian gelato flavors include:
- The cream or custard—a flavor that tastes like egg custard
- Stracciata, flor di latte gelato with chocolate chips
- A delicious sweet cream flavor called Filor-di-Latte (Italian for “flower of milk”)
Bambina Blue offers homemade gelato in NYC for those who don’t want to make their own. But if you do want to give it a try at our home, then here’s how to make gelato.
First, You Need the Right Gelato Ingredients
Its base ingredients stay the same, but regional variations are clear. North Italian and American gelato is thicker and typically made with cream and egg yolks, preventing ice crystals. In contrast, southern Italians thicken their gelato with cornstarch.
For your gelato, you will need the following ingredients:
- Milk – 2½ cups
- Vanilla extract two tablespoons
- Refined sugar, 1/3 cup
- Skimmed milk powder, 1/4 cup
- Egg yolks – 4 large
The Gelato Making Process
Even though there are several steps to this recipe, we broke them down into easy-to-follow categories that will help you prepare and cook the gelato correctly.
Making The Custard
- Heat the milk in a large saucepan while adding one teaspoon of vanilla, two teaspoons of sugar, and two spoons of milk powder. To ensure all ingredients mix well, stir well.
- Turn the heat down to medium and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. After removing from the heat, let it infuse for a few minutes while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- Combine the remaining vanilla extract and sugar with the egg yolks in a stand mixer bowl. Mix the eggs for at least 10 minutes until fluffy and voluminous.
- In the freezer or with ice cubes, chill a large mixing bowl to hold the custard.
- Gently heat the milk mixture until it is warm but not boiling to prevent the custard from curdling.
- With the mixer running at medium speed, drizzle the liquid over the beaten eggs. Please don’t rush this process.
- Place the custard in the pan over low heat. Keep stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
- Remember our chilled bowl? Now pour the custard into the chilled bowl and stir until it is cold.
The Art of Making Gelato By Hands
- In a plastic tub, place the gelato and cover it with a lid, then freeze for 30 minutes.
- Remove the gelato from the freezer and break it down into a smooth consistency. If you don’t have an electric hand mixer, you can use a fork, hand whisk, or hand mixer. Every 30 minutes, repeat this three or four times, and your dessert is ready.
- Then put the gelato into a container with a secure lid and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
- Serve the gelato within ten minutes of removing it from the refrigerator.
If You Are Using An Ice Cream Maker…
- Spread greaseproof paper over a bowl, then pour in the custard (prevent skin formation). Refrigerate the custard for 3 to 4 hours or even overnight.
- Remove the custard from the fridge, then churn it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Speed is Essential When To Comes To Making Gelatos
To prevent ice crystals, work quickly with cold ingredients and equipment when making gelato at home. The perfect temperature for freezing gelato is 5°F when commercial manufacturers churn and store it.
You will have a tough time scooping hardened gelato if your freezer runs cold. Let it thaw in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Please don’t wait too long before you eat it. The best gelato in Italy is fresh, which is why the taste is so great. Gelato melts and refreezes over time in home freezers, leading to crunchy ice crystals.
If possible, eat the churned product the same day you make it, or within two days. For leftovers that will last longer, melt the gelato and churn it again.
How Much Time Does It Take To Make Gelatos?
Please note that the churning and freezing times depend on your appliance and the flavor you are craving. For example, in our vanilla recipe, it takes 25 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook, and at least five hours to chill and freeze. Assuming a bathroom break, we’re looking at seven hours for you to sit and enjoy your fresh gelato.
On hot summer days, Italians serve their gelato in small cups or crunchy waffle cones to enjoy while walking and chatting quietly. Now make and enjoy your gelato.