Fresh Strawberry Gelato

I am always a little apprehensive to make strawberry ice cream. In the past, I’ve tried various strategies to keep the berries from becoming icy and hard in the finished product. Pureeing the berries in this gelato was the perfect solution. My beautiful freshly picked berries may have helped too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Katrina and Carmelo Turillo, owners of La Divina Gelateria in New Orleans, via Bon Appetit. I didn’t strain the puree, chilled the base overnight in the refrigerator, and churned the gelato for 25 minutes in my ice cream maker. I may add some vanilla extract next time. It was excellent!

Yield: Makes about 4 cups
  • 3/4 cup sugar (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Stir sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and cream.
  3. Whisk over medium heat until gelato base thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Pour into bowl.
  4. Immerse bowl in prepared ice water to cool, stirring occasionally.
  5. Puree strawberries in processor. Stir into gelato base.
  6. Mix in pomegranate juice.
  7. Chill 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Transfer to container. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and the container lid; freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

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Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Forget banana bread, this ice cream is the perfect use for super ripe bananas on the counter! 😉

I know that the trend is to make healthy banana ice cream, but this one is the real deal. It has puréed bananas in the custard base instead of milk. I added vanilla extract and chocolate chips to make it even more special. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. SO so SO creamy!!

Yield: About 1 1/2 pints

For the Fruit:

  • 4 very ripe medium bananas
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

For the Base:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To Prepare the Fruit:

  1. In a blender, purée bananas, sugar, lemon juice and salt until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)

To Make the Base:

  1. In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
  3. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  5. Stir buttermilk and the fruit purée into base. Add the vanilla extract. Cool mixture to room temperature. (I place the bowl into an ice bath.)
  6. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. (I place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the base before placing in it into the refrigerator.)
  7. Churn the base in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. At the end of processing, add the chocolate chips; continue processing until evenly incorporated.
  8. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until needed. If storing in the freezer, directly cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap before covering with the lid in order to prevent icing.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

I shared this ice cream base recipe with a friend early in the summer – of course with plans to try it soon myself. When she raved about the strawberry and chocolate versions that she had made, I had to move it to the top of my “to make” list!

I used the custard base from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark, and added vanilla extract and crushed cookies to make it into one of my favorite flavors. I also chilled the base in an ice bath after cooking in lieu of refrigerating overnight before freezing. We wanted to enjoy it the same day!! 🙂 Very tasty! 🙂

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 pints

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 20 chocolate cookies with vanilla creme filling such as Oreo cookies or Trader Joe’s Joe Joe’s
  1. In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
  3. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set in an ice bath. Add vanilla extract and stir to mix. Stir intermittently until base is chilled. (Alternatively the base can be cooled to room temperature and the covered and chilled at least 4 hours or overnight.)
  5. Meanwhile, place cookies in a gallon-size zip-lock bag. Crush with a mallet until pieces are desired size.
  6. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturers’ instructions. At the end of churning, add crushed cookies to the machine. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until firm, about 4 hours.

One Year Ago:

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Why did I not think of this concoction myself? Ice cream sandwiches are one of the best summer treats. The combination of brownies with ice cream is one of my favorite desserts, and, of course, I am a fan of the “chipwich.” This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I couldn’t wait to make them after seeing the recipe!

Even in the freezer, the brownies stayed soft and chewy and were absolutely delicious in this upgrade of an ice cream sandwich. I used salted caramel (slow-churned “light”) ice cream- so many other flavors would be wonderful as well.  I think we will try cookies and cream next time. 🙂 SO GOOD!

Yield: Makes 12

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 pints ice cream, softened
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10-by-13-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking oil spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on short sides, then spray paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together butter and sugar, then whisk in eggs and salt.
  3. Add flour and cocoa and mix until just smooth. Spread in pan. Bake until brownie is dry to the touch and edges have begun to pull away from pan, 8 minutes (on convection) to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Using paper overhang, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  4. Transfer brownie to a work surface and cut in half crosswise. Cover pan with a large sheet of plastic wrap and place one cake half on it. Spread with ice cream, invert remaining brownie half on top, and wrap tightly in plastic. After wrapping, gently push the softened ice cream to fill to the edges of the brownie.
  5. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Unwrap, cut into 12 pieces, and serve.

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One Year Ago:

Father’s Day Dulce de Leche Pecan Ice Cream

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As much as I would have liked my husband to try something “new” for Father’s Day, he wanted our favorite tacos. I used my CSA chard and an entire bunch of local spinach in the filling- SO delicious!! The dessert was a surprise, so I could try a new recipe of a favorite flavor. 🙂

My husband and I were at the Montreal Jazz Festival listening to an outdoor concert the first time we tried Dulce de Leche ice cream. It was a Haagen Dazs version, on a stick. We fell so in love with it that I remember the moment. 🙂

I made this version with lightly toasted pecans to celebrate Father’s Day this year. I had made a gelato version in the past that required making homemade dulce de leche– this seemed like such a (wonderful!) shortcut version to incorporate store-bought dulce de leche into a custard base. It was really creamy and delicious. I ran out of time to make pizzelles and served it in waffle bowls instead!

This recipe was adapted from Williams-Sonoma Taste. Happy Belated Father’s Day to all of the Fathers and Grandfathers!  🙂

  • 1 pint (2 cups) whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons, separated
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 13.4 oz cans Nestle LaLechera Dulce de Leche Caramel
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • freshly ground pepper, optional
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat one pint of milk and cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium stainless-steel bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar; then stir in warm milk mixture.
  3. Return the custard mixture to the small sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 170 degrees F, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. (While the custard is re-heating, I clean the original bowl and re-use it.)
  5. Using a whisk, stir 1 can plus about 1/4 of the additional can of Dulce de Leche into the warm custard. IMG_9106
  6. Once incorporated, set bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally until cooled.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard, and let cool completely in the refrigerator, chill minimally 1 hour to overnight.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water and season with freshly ground pepper, if using.
  9. Roast until just toasted, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop. Set aside.
  10. Churn chilled dulce de leche custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  11. Fold in toasted pecans.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk remaining dulce de leche with 2 tablespoons of milk to loosen, then fold into ice cream; dulce de leche should be mixed in just enough to form a marbled effect.
  13. Place in an air-tight, freezer-proof container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly to the surface of the custard. Freeze until firm, a minimum of 4 hours to overnight. Let come to room temperature for 10 minutes prior to serving.

One Year Ago:

Pistachio Semifreddo

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My husband and I have enjoyed celebrating several wedding anniversaries at Volt (restaurant of Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef fame) in Frederick, Maryland while in the Washington, DC area at Christmastime. This year we splurged for the tasting menu to celebrate our FIFTEENTH anniversary! 🙂 One of several desserts we were served was a semifreddo rolled in dark chocolate and pistachios. It had a celebratory candle in it, and was our favorite! It was my introduction to this Italian semi-frozen dessert. Delicious and different. I went home that evening and searched for a recipe to make it myself.

I selected this recipe from Gourmet because it had rave reviews and was similar to the Volt version. Importantly, shelled pistachios are available at Trader Joe’s, making the task much more doable as well. I made it to serve with Pizzelles on New Year’s Eve at a friends’ house. It is such a special dessert and is simple to make. I will definitely make this one again. Great!

Yield: Makes 2 quarts

  • 1 1/2 cups shelled salted pistachios (6 1/2 to 7 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Pulse 1 cup pistachios with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very finely ground. Add remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and pulse until just coarsely ground.
  2. Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, then increase speed to high and beat until meringue just holds stiff, glossy peaks.
  3. Beat cream with almond extract in a wide bowl with mixer at high speed until it just holds soft peaks.
  4. Fold meringue into cream gently but thoroughly, then fold in nut mixture in same manner. IMG_7004
  5. Spoon into a 2-quart dish, cover with plastic wrap flush on the surface. Freeze, covered, until firm enough to scoop, about 4 hours. Let soften slightly before serving. IMG_7006

Note:  The egg whites in this recipe are not cooked.

One Year Ago:

Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

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I made cookie ice cream sandwiches once already this summer and now they seem like the best idea when having kids over for dinner. My family was divided as to which “chipwich” was preferred- this one versus the giant chocolate chip-oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches. My husband loves anything butterscotch and my son loves anything “giant”, so I am not sure that their votes count! These crispy cookies made a thin, sweet, flavorful, and easy to eat vehicle for the ice cream. 🙂 The cookie recipe is from Martha Stewart Living.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture all at once, and beat until just combined. Stir in chips.
  5. Drop tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets (I used a small cookie scoop.), 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool on the baking sheet, 1 minute, then transfer cookies to the rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. Place one rounded scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of one overturned cookie. Top with another cookie and press to flatten ice cream. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with additional cookies.
  8. Freeze 30 minutes to overnight.

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