July is National Ice Cream Month! President Ronald Reagan designated it back in 1984. But did you know ice cream can be traced back before 500 BC? In the 13th century, Marco Polo brought “water ice” to Europe from the Far East. In 1686, Italian Francesco Procopio Del Coletti opened a Paris café and debuts frozen ices, custards and creams, marking the beginning of the gelateria. We honeymooned in Italy for 17 glorious days and we ate gelato every single day! Ice cream is probably my favorite treat of all time…with chocolate of course.
When I came across this recipe for Gianduja-Stracciatella Gelato, which roughly translates to Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, I had to try it immediately. As an Italian, I do use hazelnuts in my desserts (Chocolate Zucchini Cake), but not too often since removing the skins can be a little tricky. This gelato is well worth the time and effort.
As Reagan said at his 1984 proclamation, “Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food.” I couldn’t agree more…especially when it is homemade. Trust me, there is a difference.
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1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp coarse salt
4 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
⅛ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Spread the nuts in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring them once or twice while baking. Let the nuts cool completely before using them.
Rub the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to remove as much of the papery skins as possible, then finely chop them in a food processor or blender.
Warm the milk with 1 cup of the cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Once warm, remove from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Put the milk chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat the remaining 1 cup cream in a medium saucepan until it just begins to boil. Pour it over the milk chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set a mesh strainer over the top.
Pour the hazelnut-infused milk through a strainer into a medium saucepan, squeezing the nuts firmly with your hands to extract as much of the flavorful liquid as possible. Discard the hazelnuts.
Rewarm the hazelnut-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl., whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the milk chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
In a clean, absolutely dry bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until it’s completely smooth.
Mixing it in: Drizzle a very thin stream of the warm chocolate into 1 quart of ice cream during the last possible moment of churning.
Recipe from: The Perfect Scoop