Month: August 2013

Making Caramel Gelato

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.

Caramel Gelato
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.

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 tablespoons (44 g) light corn syrup

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)

The word gelato, in Italian, simply means “ice cream,” but its meaning has shifted to define a type of high-end frozen dessert, made with milk, not cream. Gelato also has 35% less air whipped into it than ice cream, heightening its rich mouthfeel without tipping the scales. Gelato, in all its luxury, is simple to make at home with a standard ice-cream maker.
Making Artisan Gelato, following on the heels of Making Artisan Chocolates, offers 45+ recipes and flavor variations for exquisite frozen desserts, made from all-natural ingredients available at any grocery store or farmer’s market.
From pureeing and straining fruit to tempering egg yolks for a creamy base, the gelato-making techniques included in Making Artisan Gelato ensure quality concoctions. Recipe flavors run the gamut—nuts, spices, chocolate, fruit, herbs, and more—with novel flavor pairings that go beyond your standard-issue fare.

Pick up your copy of Making Artisan Gelato wherever books and ebooks are sold.

Gluten-Free Week: An Interview with Ashley McLaughlin

Ashley McLaughlin loves the color purple. She also loves doughnuts. These facts make me love her… and her upcoming book, Baked Doughnuts for Everyone! Whether you’re following a gfree diet or just love a great recipe, this sweet, new cookbook is definitely for you.The facts about trading might stun you because it is a field that comes with a lot of surprises. A trader to enjoy and be stable here, it is important that he understands the trading secrets and tries to play smart and wise. Find out here more about this mystical field.

Here’s what Ashley has to say about life, doughnuts, and her new cookbook (publishing this fall with Fair Winds Press)

1. How did you get into baking doughnuts? 

A few years back I noticed a few blogger friends who started creating recipes for baked doughnuts. It seemed like such a fun and delicious idea to easily make doughnuts in the comfort of your own home without having to mess with a large pot of oil for frying. Not only is it a healthier option but it’s also a lot less messy and time intensive. I was a little hesitant to try my hand at baked doughnuts using gluten-free flours but after a few trials I found the perfect blend that yields a true, cake-like doughnut texture. You will never know these are gluten-free!

2. Is it more difficult to make gluten-free doughnuts? 
Coming up with the original recipe was challenging as I wanted to get the texture just right, but it’s actually extremely easy to make them. You basically need 2 bowls, a whisk, spoon, and a doughnut pan!  The process takes about 10-15 minutes before they’re ready for the oven.
3. What is your favorite recipe from the book? Why?
Okay, this is the hardest question ever! I have to give a top 5 list which even at that is hard to make.

Maple Doughnut Twists. Not only are the doughnuts topped with a maple glaze but the cake is also infused with maple syrup. The sprinkle of sea salt is the perfect final touch!

Apple Fritter Doughnuts. I swear this almost tastes like an elephant ear, my childhood favorite!  It’s full of flavor and a buttery and crunchy, cinnamon coating.
Carrot Cake Doughnuts. Truly, out of this world. The cream cheese, pecan, and coconut toppings really set this doughnut apart and the cake is packed with a comforting, spiced flavor.
Chocolate Maple Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts. These may sound over the top but they have just the right amount of chocolate, cinnamon, and sweetness. A definite breakfast or dessert contender!
Everything Doughnut. This savory doughnut was inspired by the classic “everything bagel.” It’s topped with garlic, onion, salt, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds and goes tremendously well with a smear of cream cheese.
4. You are also known for your great photography, what has been your favorite thing to capture with your camera?

Thank you so much [blushing!]. My favorite shot to style and capture was the Doughnut Stacked Birthday Cake. I just love how playful and vibrant that shot turned out. Even better than taking the photo was slicing into the “cake” and devouring every last crumb with friends!

5. How long have you been gluten-free?
I’ve been gluten-free for almost 2 1/2 years and feeling great!
6. Walk me through a day in the life of Ashley McLaughlin.

I’m usually up around 6 A.M. and start my day with dog duties, a huge waffle breakfast, and a cup of coffee. From about 6:30-7:30 I check emails, respond to questions, answer blog comments, and check a few blogs I ready daily. For the next few hours I am either editing photos (food, weddings, newborn sessions, engagement, seniors, etc.) or starting to cook in the kitchen. It varies by the day and if I’ve had any recent photography sessions with people. Also during this time I will brainstorm recipes ideas for the coming weeks or work on the business end of things, which can sometimes take hours. I finish up around noon and make a quick lunch.

Typically, lunch includes any of the following: dinner leftovers, a giant kale salad, smoothie, avocado toast, and/or eggs. If I’m testing recipes lunch might be on the lighter side depending on how much taste-testing has been done. Usually, a lot. 😉 I take about 20-30 minutes for lunch and then get back to another round of email, social media, and blog checking and replying. In the afternoon I’ll finish up recipes and photograph them (if I haven’t already), which takes around 3 hours.

Around 3 P.M. I’ll tackle the kitchen disaster I’ve inevitably made, load the day’s photos on my computer, and then edit them. I’m typically done around 4:30 P.M. At this time I’ll hit the gym, walk the dogs, or head out for a ride on my bike. In the summer I typically go for bike rides first thing in the morning to beat the heat! I break in the evening for working out, dinner, and hanging out with my husband from about 4:30-9 P.M. and then I’m back to work on my blog post for the next day. I try to get things finished up by 11 P.M. and then it’s off to bed. Since we only have one car I try to get all of the grocery shopping done for the week on Sundays. I don’t work Friday nights and try to take Saturdays off but I do work about a half day most Sundays. When I was working on the book it was even more hectic than this!

Ashley McLaughlin is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer for the blog Edible Perspective ( Her recipes have been featured in Oprah MagazineWomen’s HealthFine Cooking, the Gourmet blog, The Kitchn, The Huffington Post, and more. Ashley has also had her photos published in the New York Times best-selling cookbook Peas and Thank You. In 2011, Edible Perspective won Best Photography Blog from the Foodbuzz Blog Awards.