Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gelato in the Desert


We all have our cold comfort foods to get us through the summer months in the desert. For P., it's an ice-cold IPA. For yours truly, it's gelato. Problem is, you can't get gelato in the hi-dez. So I have to rely on my dearest friend Kate at La Petite Choue to shuttle me gelato in a cooler when she comes and visits us from L.A., which never happens often enough to satisfy my need to see her or my need for gelato.

So this summer I did what any desperate girl would do and ordered a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer, thanks to some leftover credit we still had at Williams-Sonoma from our wedding. I've had mixed results, mostly due to my inability to follow directions (like the rhubarb ice cream that turned out chewy), but this time it really worked out.

I used a recipe for peach ice cream from my trusty Joy of Cooking, but in addition to the peaches I threw in a nectarines and one borderline rotten mango, and I added a drop of almond extract instead of the vanilla the recipe called for. And I used mostly milk instead of cream, which technically made it gelato instead of ice cream (ice cream = cream, gelato = milk, sorbet = fruit juice). HEAVEN. With a little garnish of basil from the garden (which, by the way, tastes AMAZING with fresh peaches) the whole thing came together splendidly and I was, to be honest, quite pleased with myself. P. was a big fan, too, but thinks the almond extract might be a bit too noticeable for people who are nnutt-averse (said in your best Harlan Pepper voice a la Best in Show).

This is a very simple gelato recipe (no dreaded custard-making required) but I'm afraid you do need an ice cream maker to do it.

{about 2 quarts}

Peel, pit and puree in a food processor:
2 pounds very ripe peaches or whatever stone fruit you have (I used two v. large peaches, one nectarine, and one mango)

1. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in:
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I substituted almond extract for a different flava)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt (I measured out a healthy 1/4 teaspoon)

2. Refrigerate until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.

3. Combine in a new bowl and stir to dissolve sugar:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream*
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar (I used a little less...depends on how sweet your peaches are)
*(I only had a little cream but plenty of milk so I reversed the measurements to 1/2 cup cream and 1 1/2 cups milk)

4. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze as directed. When ice cream is almost frozen, add fruit to mixture. (Add pureed fruit to almost-frozen ice cream? To heck with that. I just mixed the chilled fruit puree with the cream/milk/sugar and poured everything into my ice cream maker and let it churn for 15 minutes or until it had doubled in size and had the consistency of soft-serve. Then I poured into Tupperware, sealed, and let it "ripen" in the freezer for a few hours.)



  1. omg. this is amazing! i can't wait for you to make me some of that gelato! and fyi, your rhubarb wasn't THAT chewey! it was good! also, you are quite the scribe little lady. great post and well written. love you!

  2. omg x2! the ice cream sounds absolutely out of this world- and now at last you've educated me about ice cream vs gelato vs sorbet! Thank you! this is such a delicious site- now I'm hooked and eager for more!! food, horticulture, art, hi dez wildlife, doggies...- its all a treat!! I'll pine away until the next delectable post!!

  3. Thanks so much for visiting & commenting on our little site. We're glad you enjoyed it - but it is your with the great blog - making pasta and gelato and such. You make me feel so lazy!


Your turn: