I guess chocolate really does always win the popularity contest. The one chocolate flavor was the winner in my ice cream poll, where I asked readers to choose which ice cream flavor I should make. Chocolate hazelnut was the clear winner with 32.5% of the vote, with olive oil coming in second at 26.3%, and strawberry the distant third with 12%.
From an abundance of egg yolks left over from the All Souls cupcake making extravaganza comes this gloriously silky, nutty and smooth chocolate hazelnut gelato, from David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop. Someone suggested that I make the Lebovitz’ recipe, and now I have no idea who it was – please know that I fully intended to do a shout out!
Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream and according to Lebovitz’s book, can refer to any frozen churned custard dessert made with milk or cream. Of course, in Italy they have special machines that spin gelato with less air than American-style ice cream machines, so this gelato isn’t exactly what you’ll get from an Italian-style gelateria. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious.
The recipe is for giandujua gelato – named after a confection sweet from Torino, made with local hazelnuts and milk chocolate. It’s relatively simple – you let roasted ground hazelnuts steep in a warm mixtuere of milk, cream and sugar; strain and temper in your egg yolks; and mix with milk chocolate that’s been melted with more cream. But the end product is like eating a frozen, creamy hazelnut truffle. I used Lindt milk chocolate, which worked perfectly with the hazelnuts – I highly suggest using the best quality milk chocolate you can find, or afford. The roasted, slightly bitter flavor of the hazelnuts is offset by the sweetness and caramel flavors of the milk chocolate. The ice cream is incredibly creamy, with a luscious mouthfeel and silky texture.
So, readers, you chose well. Like, really, really well. And I still have some egg yolks left over. Maybe it’s time for olive oil ice cream?
From The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
4 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread your hazlenuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 10 minutes, until toasted and brown. Rub hazelnuts in a towel to remove the skins, then grind in a blender or food processor.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1 cup of the cream, sugar, salt. Heat over medium heat until warm. Remove from heat and add the hazelnuts. Cover and let steep for 1 hour.
Place milk chocolate in a large bowl. Heat remaining 1 cup of cream over medium heat until it just begins to boil, then pour over the milk chocolate. Stir until smooth and the chocolate is melted. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl.
Place the egg yolks in a small bowl. Strain the hazelnut mixture into a medium saucepan – squeeze nuts with your hands or press through with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Heat hazelnut mixture until almost simmering, and then pour a small amount of it into the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture back into the hazelnut mixture and whisk to fully combine.
Heat custard over medium heat until thickened – the liquid should coat the back of a spoon. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the milk chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Let cool in an ice bath before placing in the refrigerator to cool completely. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.