A homemade version of the frozen, Italian dessert found at your favorite gelato shop.
Homemade Lemon Gelato
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream*
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Italian milk is higher in fat than in United States. Adding cream makes recipe smoother and more characteristic, but you may use 3 cups milk and no cream if desired.
Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan; over medium heat warm until steamy and foam forms around edges (do not boil).
While milk is heating – prepare egg yolks. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until thick and creamy (about 2 minutes on high speed electric mixer). Remove milk from heat and gradually beat hot milk into yolks. Return mixture to pan and continue to cook over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon (do not bring to a boil or eggs will curdle). Pour mixture through wire strainer to remove lumps. Add vanilla and/or other flavorings (see below), chill several hours to overnight.
Pour well chilled mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufactures directions. Transfer to a chilled container and freeze until firm. When ready to serve, place in refrigerator until it reaches desired consistency (should be soft, but not melted).
Using the basic recipe above experiment with different flavors in suggestions below.
Vanilla Bean Gelato:
Split 1-inch vanilla bean and scrape into milk and cream before heating; add pod. Remove pod before freezing.
Leave out vanilla. If desired, increase sugar to 2/3 cup; add 5 tablespoons fresh lemon zest and 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice to cooked custard.
Lavender Mint Gelato:
Add 1 cup fresh mint leaves and 1 tablespoon dried lavender (2 tablespoons fresh lavender) to milk. Heat as directed above; remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes. Strain mixture through cheesecloth or wire strainer. Heat infused milk, continue with recipe as directed above. Alternate – add 1 drop lavender oil and 1/2-1 teaspoon mint extract to cooked custard.
Raspberry Chocolate Swirl Gelato:
Add 1-teaspoon vanilla to cooked gelato custard. Before freezing gelato, puree 1 cup fresh raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice; if desired, strain through wire strainer to remove seeds; place puree in freezer while gelato is freezing in ice cream maker. Hand stir 6-ounces roughly chopped chocolate into frozen gelato. Layer frozen gelato with pureed raspberries in chilled container (approximately 1/4 gelato, 1/4 raspberries; continue layers until all ingredients are in chilled container). Freeze until firm as directed above.
Dulce de Leche Gelato:
Reduce cream to 1/4-cup; substitute 1/3-cup packed brown sugar for white sugar; use only 2 egg yolks; use 1 can (14 oz) Dulce de Leche (find with sweetened condensed milk in grocery store). Whisk 3/4-1 cup milk into canned Dulce de Leche; refrigerate until later. Follow recipe method as directed above. When ready to freeze add custard and approximately 1/3 thinned Dulce de Leche to ice cream machine (do not stir prior to freezing). When frozen, partially hand stir remaining Dulce de Leche into gelato and layer in chilled container; freeze until firm. When ready to serve, place in refrigerator until it reaches desired consistency.
Add 3-4 broken cinnamon sticks to milk; heat until almost a boil, remove from heat and steep 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and re-heat milk as directed above. Substitute brown sugar for white. May add an additional 1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste, to cooked custard.
Substitute 1/4-teaspoon almond extract for vanilla. Finely grind 3/4-cup shelled, unsalted pistachios in food processor with 1/2 the called for sugar. Add ground pistachios to milk and cream. Follow recipe as directed above using remaining sugar; do not strain custard. If desired, add a little green food color to cooked custard.