It is hardly news that Italians are, and will probably forever be, the gelato Olympic gold medal winners. When we lived in Rome, we were blessed and cursed to live above a gelateria and at times could even be seen heading down for a chocolate and coffee cone in our pyjamas. In Italy, there is no occasion, and in particular no food festival, which cannot be improved by the addition of an exotically flavoured icecream. My favourite – conceptually more than culinarily – was an artichoke icecream I ate at the annual artichoke festival in Montelupone. Anyone who can make artichokes work in gelato form is some kind of alchemist. Other nations sometimes humiliate themselves in their attempts to imitate – in London recently, I tried a brie gelato (conceptually a disaster – who wants freezing cold brie?) and garlic ice-cream, which is just silly.
To help guide you through the choppy waters and icy streams of everyone’s favourite desert, we highly recommend our cookery writer friend Susan Whetzel book ‘Everything gelato’. Amongst many other delicious recipes is one she has created using our mandarin olive oil to great effect. We plan to use it to convince some of our more sceptical Italian friends that there is gelato life beyond Rome…
Ingredients for 1 quart/2 pints
Milk – 3 cups
Heavy Cream/whipping cream – 1 cup/240ml
Sugar – 1 cup/225g
Salt – a pinch
Egg yolks – 6 large
Extra virgin olive oil with mandarins – 2/3rds of a cup/160ml
Bring the milk and cream to boil in a medium-sized saucepan, then immediately remove from the heat and set aside. With an electric or stand mixer beat the egg yolks and sugar, on high, until the mix triples in volume. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure thorough mixing. Reduce the speed to low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
Slowly add all the hot milk mixture, then pour the whole concoction back into the saucepan. Whisk constantly over a medium-low heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to overheat it or the eggs will curdle.
Place a fine mesh sieve (or a piece of muslin) over a large bowl and strain the gelato mixture through it. Chill it for 4 hours or even overnight. Then add the mixture to an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions for freezing.
Stop the churning as soon as the gelato is just frozen.
You can find other recipes on Susan’s great blog www.doughmesstic.com