My co-worker Caitlin just got a new ice cream/gelato maker, so I couldn’t help but send her a copy of the delicious book Making Artisan Gelato. Here is what she had to say about her experiences making caramel gelato. If you give this sweet treat a try, be sure to send along pictures.
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In my mind, a recipe that starts with a homemade slab of caramel is off to a promising start—especially when the outcome is a frosty, creamy treat. This recipe for caramel gelato from Making Artisan Gelato is a sublime summer dessert that you should plan to make immediately if you have access to an ice cream maker.
The most difficult part of making this caramel gelato: resisting the urge to slurp the chilled custard base from the pitcher with a straw. You’ve been warned. The well-written recipe made the process very straightforward, but here are a few things I discovered:
- Try to spread your caramel evenly when cooling it; otherwise you’ll end up with a ridiculously tough 1/2-inch layer to break apart.
- Another caramel tip: don’t attempt to grind it in your food processor late at night. Steel yourself before you push the “On” button. It makes quite the racket.
- Enlist help for the egg-tempering step: Person 1 pours the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, which are being whisked like crazy by Person 2.
- I didn’t put the gelato base through a blender—the straining through fine mesh was plenty for me.
The resulting decadence is perfect to eat straight out of the ice cream maker (or, if you have patience, after a few hours of hardening in the freezer), and it’s rich enough that an ice cream aficionado like me was satisfied with a little teacup’s worth.
Excerpted from Making Artisan Gelato by Torrance Kopfer
The simple caramel is incorporated into the gelato base. The result, a smooth gelato infused with caramel flavor, is more sophisticated than the gooey, sticky treat recalled from childhood.
When working with hot sugar while making caramel, exercise caution, as it can cause a nasty burn if it makes contact with your skin. You might want to keep an ice bath at hand in case the hot sugar splatters onto your hands. Quickly submerge them into the icy water to limit the degree of the burn.
FOR THE CARAMEL:
1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 tablespoons (44 g) light corn syrup
FOR THE GELATO:
2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
1 batch caramel, ground
4 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the caramel:
Place the sugar, water, and the corn syrup in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir together until the mixture resembles wet sand. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook until the sugar turns a light amber color and just begins to smoke (around 350°F [180°C] on a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and swirl the pan around as the caramel continues to darken to a medium-dark tan color. Immediately and carefully pour the hot caramel onto a Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Allow the caramel to cool completely before breaking it up into small pieces with a rolling pin or by hand.
When completely cooled, place broken-up pieces of caramel into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of coarse sand or kosher salt. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the gelato:
Pour the milk into a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the ground caramel. Stir to combine. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until it registers 170°F (77°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
In a nonreactive, medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt until foamy and slightly thickened. Carefully temper the egg yolks with the hot milk mixture by slowly adding about half of the hot liquid to the eggs, whisking continuously. Pour the heated egg mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk and return to the stove top. Stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula, cook the mixture over medium heat until it registers 185°F (85°C) on an instant-read thermometer or is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula, making sure the mixture does not boil. Remove from the heat. Emulsify the mix, if not completely smooth, before incorporating it into the cold cream.
Pour the heavy cream into a clean, large stainless-steel or glass mixing bowl set over an ice bath.
Pour the heated custard through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into the cold cream, add the vanilla extract, and stir until fully incorporated.
Stir occasionally (about every 5 minutes or so) until the mixture has fully cooled. This should take about half an hour. Remove the mixing bowl from the ice bath, dry off the bottom of the bowl if necessary, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
When ready, pour the chilled mixture into the ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s specifications.
Remove the finished gelato from the ice-cream maker and place in a plastic container. Cover with plastic wrap by pressing the wrap gently against the top of the gelato, affix lid to container, and place in the freezer to fully harden before serving.
Yield: approximately 1 quart (528 g)
Pick up your copy of Making Artisan Gelato wherever books and ebooks are sold.