Cooking Time: 20 min
Freezing time: 6-8 hours, or overnight.
Calories per 100g: 271
The word ‘gelato’ literally translating to ‘frozen’ is one of Italy’s finest sweet creations. It is believed that Italian gelato was created in around the late 16th century by a man named Bernardo Buontalenti as a gift for the Florentine court of Catherina dei Medici. Buontalenti’s creation spread soon spread across Italy, encouraging an abundance of new flavours and regional variations. It was introduced to Europe a few years later when Sicilian born Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli opened a café in Paris, eponymously named “Café Procope” in 1686, which was to become a hub for the Parisian artistic and literary community.
How gelato differs from ice cream
- Gelato contains a lower fat content than ice cream but also a slightly higher sugar content.
- Texture wise, gelato tends to be a lot denser but silkier than traditional ice cream. Ice cream’s higher air content makes it softer and lighter.
- The lower fat content in gelato allows for a lot more intense flavours to come through. Gelato is also traditionally made with all natural ingredients.
- When served gelato is usually served a few degrees warmer than ice cream to really showcase the flavours.
How to make Festive Cinnamon Gelato
There are few flavours more festive than cinnamon, and when combined in fresh Italian gelato it’s like tasting little burst of Christmas in every spoonful. Serve by itself for pure and simple exquisiteness, crumble a few ameretti biscuits for a little crush, or why not turn it into a post-lunch treat by pouring a shot of espresso over to create a cinnamon affogato. Buonissimo!
Chef’s Tip: Since this recipe is all about the cinnamon, try using fresh cinnamon sticks and grating it with a microplane zester. If your cinnamon sticks have been opened for longer than 6 months, it’s worth getting a fresh pack for optimum flavour!
Electric beaters/standing mixer
Loaf tin/ice cream container (or any freezer safe container)
- 4 egg yolks
- 350ml whole milk
- 250ml double cream
- 150g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp good quality vanilla extract
- 2 decent teaspoons of cinnamon
Making the custard base
- Using your electric beaters or standing mixer whip the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, light and fluffy. (You can do this with a manual whisk, but you will get a noticeably better result from an electric mixer).
- Pour the milk into the saucepan and set at a low heat, bring it so it begins to simmer, but DO NOT BOIL.
- Pour the hot milk slowly into the eggs and sugar mixture, whilst continuously whisking on medium-low speed continuously. This will temper the eggs so that they don’t curdle.
- Pour this combined mixture back into the saucepan over a low heat, stirring continuously until the custard has thickened so that it coats the back of a spoon. **Ensure that this mixture never comes to boil, or the eggs will curdle!
- Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes at room temperature, stirring every couple of minutes. * You can speed this process up by placing the bowl over an ice bath.
- You will need to let this custard mixture cool completely: cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for around 3 hours (or overnight).
Folding in the cream
- Once the cold custard is ready, use your electric beaters or standing whisk to whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the custard into the whipped cream, taking care not to over mix which will deflate all the air from the whipped cream.
- Gently stir in the cinnamon and vanilla and pour into your loaf tin or container and place into the freezer.
- After 45-60 min remove the gelato from the freezer and whisk again to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process 2-3 times more until the gelato begins to look nice and thick.
- Once it looks sufficiently thick, allow to freezer for a further 4-5 hours before serving.
- To serve traditionally, allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened.
- Buon appetite! Buon Natale!
- Keep in an air-tight container for up to 5-6 weeks, although we are confident that it will be eaten long before then!
Should you need more festive recipe inspiration, why not visit our Christmas hub to find more delicious recipes?
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