Summer means gelato. Well, this Summer does! It’s always good to have few goals to keep you going in the holidays, which is always easy due to the plethora of delicious and seasonally exclusive foods available and the sudden availability of free time. We have a Christmas in (Hopefully) the sunshine here in New Zealand, which means lots of Ice Cream and sometimes frozen Christmas Puddings instead of boiled ones. It also means we have a lot of winter decorations and fake snow in what sometimes reaches 30 degrees Celsius heat, much to the amusement of Northern Hemishere residents.
I digress! Back to this gelato. It’s easy and egg free, which means you don’t have to go through the ordeal of separating egg yolks and then the hassle of using up the whites. It also needs a tad less sugar than usual as the alcohol in it doesn’t freeze.
It was made only hours before it was served (excellent time management, I know) so this is what it looked like after one hour in the freezer post-churning:
Could be worse. But ideally, give it a good 6 hours plus. For those of you who do not know what Cynar is, don’t worry. I didn’t until I discovered we didn’t have Marsala wine minutes before having to add it to the gelato. It’s an 16% alcohol spirit from Italy and is flavoured with lots of herbs and plant extracts; primarily believe it or not of artichoke essence. You wouldn’t guess it….! You can pick any alcohol you want really, just be sure it’s about the same alcohol percentage for consistency. Adapt it to your tastes or what you are serving it with! I wanted Marsala as it was for an Italian date tart but hey, I did things last minute.
Anyway, try it! It’s super creamy and not too demanding in terms of special ingredients. You could probably leave out the alcohol if you aren’t a fan, but it would be risky. I intend to post a recipe for delicious ‘plain’ vanilla ice cream sometime soon! Here is the recipe~
Vanilla and Cynar Gelato
100 white sugar
500mls full cream milk
½ tsp vanilla paste or essence
Scant 50mls of 15-20% alcohol spirit
(I used cynar, marsala would be good!)
Crushed chocolate/coffee beans/nuts
Cherries or other berries
If you are using an ice cream maker, don’t forget to have the freezing bowl completely frozen!
In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornflour and about ¼ of the milk on low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the rest of the milk, stirring, a bit at a time, followed by the vanilla. Continue to boil gently until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and holds when you draw a line through it. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl (which you could have pre-frozen if you want to speed things up!) and mix in the cream and alcohol. I added mine a bit at a time and taste tested to make sure I didn’t add too much. Also if you go overboard, the ice cream won’t freeze, so be careful!
Chill (or freeze if you are in a hurry) the mixture until completely cool. Churn in your ice cream maker until nice and thick. Transfer to a container and freeze for a few hours before serving.
Makes about half a litre.