Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chuck Norris loves Gelato? Ergh, this is going to suck...

Okay, I decided that I would use the online slogan-making tool to see if I could get an interesting title for this post. The best it could come up with was "Chuck Norris loves gelato." Which I suppose is true, because gelato is so good, you can't not love it. After a doozy of a day, I decided to run to the grocery store on my way home from work. I was wandering through the frozen foods section, talking to my significant other on the phone, when I spied the section containing the Gelato. Sometime later, with all my sorrows drowned in a pint of the stuff, I was reminiscing about the past, and remembered my own recipe for Mint Straticella Gelato. Gelato is frozen, sweet, velvety textured heaven, Italian for ice cream. Stratticella "torn apart" is one of the common flavors, which is chocolate drizzled in and just mixed up enough to tear the chocolate strands apart, and give it a chocolate chip sort of texture. Gelato, whatever the flavor, is pretty well renowned for its great texture and fresh flavor. Here's how it came to America: Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in Poland. Being the first-born, he was to be ordained in the Church as Catholic priest. The night before he was to be ordained, he said to the Father Superior, "I want to go back one last time to see my family." The Father Superior granted his request. So the boy left the church, and walked down the road. But he did not go and see his family. Instead, he hop on boat to America! And then he change his name to "Lenn" (we think it was actually Lenski, but we will never know) And on his way to America, he stop in Italy on a hot day. There, a little Italian Mama was selling a sweet, creamy, icy-cold confection. The boy bought some, tried it and begged the little Italian Mama to give him the recipe. Somehow, she obliged him, and he brought it with him to America. And that is how we came to have this wonderful deliciousness in America today. Okay, that's not how gelato came to the continent, but it is how my Great-Great Grandfather did. And that is where I get my crazy from. Anyway, back to my recipe. You will need an ice cream freezer of some sort. For the full recipe, you need one that has a 1/2 gallon capacity. It can be easily halved, and make a more manageable 1 quart batch. An electric powered ice cream freezer will be the least work, and give you the best results, but they are expensive, and really, really freaking loud! Another good, non-electric option, is one of those ball-shaped ice cream freezers that you can roll back and forth pretty quietly. They also aren't too terribly expensive, so a good option for dorm/appartment dwellers. For this recipe, if you use the mint leaves it will give it a delightful, light, bright green color. If you use peppermint extract, it will look just like plain Straticella Gelato.

For the full recipe of Mint Stratticella Gelato, here's what you need:

3 cups Milk
3 cups Heavy Cream
1 ¼ cups Sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp peppermint extract *or* 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract (for the alcohol, keeps it softer and scoopable)
1 cup Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao chocolate, chopped

Here's what you do:

Using Mint Leaves:

1)      Mix milk, cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat till almost boiling.
2)      Add mint leaves, cover and let stand for one hour.
3)      Strain out mint, squeezing to extract as much flavor and color; add egg yolks, mix, and cook over medium heat until mixture coats back of spoon. Proceed to step 4.

Using Peppermint Extract:

1)      Mix milk, cream, sugar, salt, peppermint extract, and egg yolks in a saucepan and cook until mixture coats back of spoon. Proceed to step 4.

4)      Strain mixture, and chill in ice cream canister.
5)      Add vanilla; make into ice cream according to manufacturer’s directions.
6)      Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Drizzle a bit in a checkerboard-ish patter in the bottom of your freezer-safe container. Put a 1” layer of ice cream in, drizzle more chocolate over it in the same fashion. Keep repeating this process as quickly as possible until you are out of ice cream. Then take a knife long enough to go to the bottom of the container and drag it through the entire thing a couple of times. This serves the tear apart the chocolate strands and give straticella it’s texture!
7)      Put ice cream into the freezer for a few hours to ripen.
8)      Stuff face. Or share some.

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