Friday, August 5, 2011

strawberry gelato

So, I made this great lemon gelato, I took pictures of every step along the way to freezing it, wrote up the post right away so I wouldn't forget what I did... and then we somehow ate it all before I took a picture of a bowl of the finished gelato. So of course the only way forward is to make lemon gelato a second time, in order to get a picture, right? In the meanwhile, here is the strawberry gelato I made more recently.
I used bits from 3 recipes for this - Mario Batali's from Molto Gusto, which intriguingly uses powdered milk to counteract the water in the strawberries to keep them from turning the gelato icy; this one from Bon Appetit that I found on Epicurious, which unlike Mario's doesn't use any egg yolks, but rather thickens the base with cornstarch (skipping egg altogether lets the flavor of the fruit really stand out, and makes the gelato more refreshing, but still creamy); and Mark Bittman's general recipe for "soft fruit ice milk" in How to Cook Everything, (I got it as an app on my iphone, best 5 bucks I ever spent!) which like many recipes in there makes one feel free to experiment, armed with a general guideline for proportions.

Strawberry Gelato
makes about a quart

2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries (preferably organic)
3/4 cup sugar, divided (I used turbinado, any kind is fine)
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp alcohol of some kind (I used creme de cacao, you could use a slightly smaller amount of vodka)
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl or large (4 cup or greater) measuring cup, combine the chopped strawberries and their juices with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pinch of salt. Cover and let sit in the fridge for a while to macerate.

Add the dry milk powder to the macerated strawberries along with the cup of cream, cover and return to the fridge.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the tablespoon of cornstarch. Add 1/4 cup of milk to start, whisking to get rid of any lumps. Add the remaining cup of milk, and over medium heat, bring to a boil, and once bubbling, let it simmer over medium low heat for 1 minute (stir pretty constantly throughout this process).

Remove the milk/cornstarch mixture from the heat and cool it down (either put the bottom of the pan in an ice bath, or if you don't mind getting another bowl dirty, scrape it into a metal bowl, and put that in an ice bath (it will cool down really quickly that way). When it's no longer hot, stir it into the strawberry/cream mixture, along with the vodka (or whatever you decide to use) and the vanilla extract.

Chill the base, ideally for several hours, or overnight if you can spare the time (it should be pretty thick, like the texture of yogurt, actually). Freeze in your ice cream maker, then transfer it to a chilled container for storing. The first day (after about 2 hours chilling in the container) the gelato is soft; the next day it's scoopable (thanks to the addition of the alcohol) but firm, so leaving it out for ten minutes before you try to scoop it makes life a bit easier.

Awesome on a sugar cone.


  1. I feel like a framboise or chambord might make a good alcohol substitute here. I don't like the idea of using so little vodka because I don't think it would add all that much :)

  2. Ha! Yes, that little bit of vodka won't do anything to the flavor - it's actually there just to chemically change things so that the gelato doesn't freeze as hard (I suggested using less vodka if you go that route because it's more alcohol-y than a liqeuer like I used). I agree about the framboise/chambord, if I had any... so yummy. But you have to be careful, because if you add too much alcohol, the thing won't want to freeze at all, and soupy gelato won't go in a cone, which is where it's at for me.