Friday, July 22, 2011

Vanilla Bean Gelato

When my husband and I visited San Francisco last year, I fell in love with gelato.  There is this gelato place in North Beach and we liked it so much that we walked a mile from our hotel, up those San Francisco streets, TWICE in the four days that we were there.

So when I saw gelato starter at Crate and Barrell, you can bet that I snatched it right up.

You may think this is cheating.  I mean, the point of making ice cream at home is that it is made from scratch.  Well, my husband and I have tested several ice cream recipes, and I think we were trying to hard to make it lighter so it never really tasted that good.  That being said, this option sounded alot more attractive.  

I also don't feel bad about this specific starter because the ingredients are very simple and arguably the same things I would use if I made it from scratch, except better because I would never spend money on real vanilla beans.
Now, this starter came with two packets.  We are on our second packet.  On the first try we basically followed instructions.  We added 2 cups of half and half and 1 cup of cream to the mix.  I never thought I would say this about ice cream, but it was TOO rich!  I couldn't eat more than a scoop at a time.  And what's the fun in that?

So this time, I lightened it up a bit... cautiously.  I kept the 2 cups half and half and instead of cream I added 1 cup 1% milk to the gelato mix.

Then I poured it into my ice cream machine and set the timer for 35 minutes. (This is one of the things I love about making ice cream, the machine does it all for you.)

About half way through you should start to see your ice cream thicken in the bowl.

You know your ice cream is ready when it's so thick it looks like it's about to bust out of your machine.  You might hear faint cries that sound like, "Eaaattt meeeeee."

As tempting as it may be to eat this straight from the bowl, your patience will be rewarded if you put it in the freezer for a couple hours, even overnight if you can humanly stand it.

The texture from this batch was noticeably different, more icy.  The first batch was super creamy.  This is to be expected as you reduce the fat content.  I am glad I reduced the fat because now it doesn't taste so overwhelmingly rich but next time I might try 2% milk to see if I can reduce the ice crystals a bit.  I have also heard adding an egg can help so I might try that as well.

At the end of the day, whether you follow my directions or theirs, if you have an ice cream machine, I highly recommend this mix.

Here's to summer!

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