Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gelato Alla Crema

Pin It

It is time... it is time to dust off the ice cream maker and bring it front and center.   Just think, pieces of peach, strawberry, blueberries any berry! to add to this scrumptious cream.  Even pieces of baked crust or cookies.  It's such an easy dessert to make,  and it brings such joy to anyone lucky enough to share a bowl.  Seriously...have you ever seen the expression on someone having a bowl of homemade ice cream?!

I have posted a few recipes for ice cream already on this blog and a Canteloupe Sorbetto awhile back,  but this is the first one I post for a real gelato.  Frankly, given the choice, I prefer gelato to ice cream.  The difference?

For a product to carry the label of “ice cream” in the US it has to have a minimum 10% fat content. Lower quality ice cream will be around 11 or 12%, while higher quality products will hit 16% and higher. Gelato is a different thing all together- since the milk-to-cream ratio is much higher, the fat content is significantly lower- anywhere between 3 and 8%. This is particularly important when t comes to taste, as the lower fat content doesn’t saturate your taste buds as much, and the flavors have the chance to emerge stronger. Air content is also significantly lower,  about 25%-30% in gelato and usually in excess of 50% in ice cream. The reason of the different air content resides in the churning method and the processing speed. Last, but not least- serving temperature. Ice cream is served frozen, while gelato is not- hence the challenge to lick your way around the cone before it melts.

The only flavors in this smooth, rich gelato are sweet cream, sugar, egg yolks and a hint of orange. You can use it as the base for other gelatos by adding chunks of chocolate, bits of fruit or chopped nuts during the last minute or so of freezing.  I would recommend that you have it "plain" the first time.  There is nothing to compare to a homemade bowl of Gelato Alla Crema...Nothing!

For the recipe, click below:

Gelato Alla Crema

Makes about 5 cups; serves 4


  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 orange zest strip, 3 inches long 
  • 6 egg yolks 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream and orange zest and heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. When the milk mixture is ready, slowly add it to the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the same saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to come to a simmer.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Let cool, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.*

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The gelato can be served immediately, directly from the ice cream maker, when it is still soft. Or, you can transfer the gelato to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or for up to 2 days, before serving.

*I find an hour is not enough. I like to make this the day before and pour into ice maker the day after, especially in summer.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007)
Reference on gelato from Italy in SF..


  1. Well, even though it is winter here in Australia, our winters are so very mild that ice cream is eaten all year round. And gelato is a particular favourite - especially hazelnut and espresso flavoured. I don't have an ice cream maker, but you have me wondering whether I should splurge and get one, because this is making me hungry reading the recipe!! And I guess it just wouldn't be as creamy without one?

  2. Glamour,

    Those two are my favorite flavors. Get one, it's totally worth it!


Thank you for visiting Lindaraxa. Your comments are much appreciated.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Pin It button on image hover