2016 UPDATE: This recipe for Sicilian-Style Vanilla Bean Gelato is a companion post to How to Make Gelato: A Detailed Step-by-Step Recipe, which was originally published in 2010. Check it out to learn more about gelato, to find out my tips to make the delightful Italian treat, and to get the recipe to make Classic Vanilla Bean Gelato.
Also make sure to check out my detailed video class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat. In it, you’ll find out what makes gelato different from ice cream, how to make a versatile gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors, and all my secrets and tips to churn and serve outstanding gelato. I even share how to make dairy-free vegan gelato! In short, it’s a very thorough, colorful class that will quickly turn you into a gelato master. Watch Now!
This Sicilian-style gelato uses cornstarch, a thickening agent that allows you to use less egg yolks, making a bright white gelato and a delightfully silky, mouth-coating texture.
Makes 2 quarts [1.89 L], serves 8 to 10 gelato lovers.
In a saucepan, pour 1¼ cups [310 ml] of the milk and the cream, then add the split vanilla bean. Warm over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edge (no need to bring it to a boil).
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup [250 ml] milk, sugar, and cornstarch together. Remove the saucepan with the hot milk from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Place the egg yolk in a medium bowl and whisk until it is pale and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Temper the egg yolk by slowly pouring one ladleful of the hot milk mixture into the yolk, whisking constantly, then slowly pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking to combine.
Remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours, or preferably overnight so the vanilla bean infuses fully.
Fish the vanilla bean out of the custard, then pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl of an ice cream maker (straining the mixture will ensure a silky smooth gelato). Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is icy but still soft.
Transfer the gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about two hours. The gelato will keep, frozen, for up to two weeks. Always take the gelato out to room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before serving to soften it and make it easier to scoop.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from Saveur Magazine.
Here are my favorite books about gelato/ice cream making:
- The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments, by David Lebovitz
- The Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More, by Bruce Weinstein
- Italian Cooking School: Ice Cream, by The Silver Spoon Kitchen (Phaidon)
- The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto: Bold, Fresh Flavors to Make at Home, by F. W. Pearce and Danilo Zecchin
- The Art of Making Gelato: 50 Flavors to Make at Home, by Morgan Morano
- 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelatos: The Only Ice Cream Compendium You’ll Ever Need, by Alex Barker
- Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: 90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream and Frozen Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery, by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough
- Ice Cream Social: 100 Artisanal Recipes for Ice Cream, Sherbet, Granita, and Other Frozen Favorites, by Anthony Tassinello and Mary Jo Thoresen
- Lomelino’s Ice Cream: 79 Ice Creams, Sorbets, and Frozen Treats to Make Any Day Sweet, by Linda Lomelino
- Dairy-Free Ice Cream: 75 Recipes Made Without Eggs, Gluten, Soy, or Refined Sugar, by Kelly V. Brozyna