August 2, 2011

Gelato al Cioccolato

As my my friends know, gelato is my all-time favorite dessert. During the summer of '99 while attending UW, I lived in Siena. My friend Whitney and I would walk up to our local gelateria nearly every night to get our coppa di gelato. Her favorite stracciatella and mine was typically bacio (hazelnut & chocolate) or a mixture of cioccolato (chocolate) and pistachio. We are both chocolate lovers. I created this recipe as an ode to our summer evenings spent walking and nibbling!

Gelato al Ciccolato
Yields: scant 5 cups

3 cups whole milk
3/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened & non-alkaline
3 ounces 70% chocolate, preferably Theo Chocolate, broken into small bits
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

In a medium saucepan bring the milk, cream and sugar to a light simmer over medium heat while stirring. Once the sugar is melted, turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Once well mixed whisk in the 70% chocolate until well melted.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Using a ladle, temper the egg yolks with warm chocolate mixture (by adding a little of the hot mixture at a time). Once tempered add the egg yolk chocolate mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and the temperature registers 180 degrees F (or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon).

Strain the mixture through a sieve, stir in the vanilla and the sea salt. Place plastic wrap over the top of the mixture and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can chill faster by placing in an ice bath and stirring until cool.

When chilled, pour the gelato base into the bowl of an ice-cream machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions.

Freeze for at least 20 minutes prior to serving.

Can be made several days ahead of serving. If making ahead, pull out of the freezer 10-15 minutes prior to serving to soften.

Serve with fresh berries and espresso for an Italian treat!

Buon Appetito!

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