Summer is a time of creativity in our kitchen inspired by so many patissiers in Venice and their frozen summer treats.
My grandmother’s family have been making ice cream ever since I can remember. There’s a difference you will taste when making gelato at home because we make ice cream in the ancient manner, not using a gelatiera (ice-cream maker). It will taste a little bit like scropin or sorbetto, depending on the ingredients we choose. With a little bit of practicing, one can make delicious gelato, made from sweet cream and the lighter granita-style which doesn’t use cream.
The consistency of gelato will also depend on the ingredients. We use panna (thick sweet cream) and latte intero (whole milk) to make a creamy version. There is one issue, though. What I call panna may not be what you consider (sweet) cream. Don’t use the light versions of cream. You’ll need a very thick cream, clotted cream would be fine, but you’ll have to experiment and it should work out in the end.
The basis for ALL gelati is the following recipe for gelato fior di latte (milky ice cream). Here are our favorite family recipes: chocolate mint ice cream, rose petal ice cream and Nutella ice cream :-)
Ingredients for chocolate mint ice cream: 350 ml latte intero (whole milk), 170 ml panna (liquid, thick sweet cream), 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, a small bar of dark fine chocolate, 2 teaspoons menta liquor (Italian mint liquor). Instead of alcohol, you can also use a few drops of essential mint oil or 2 teaspoons mint syrup.
In a pan, mix all ingredients carefully and heat them until sugar and chocolate melt and form a smooth mass. Leave it to cool to room temperature, then put the pan (covered) into the freezer for two hours.
If you stir your gelato every hour or so with a fork, you’ll be making granita which will melt more quickly though when yu eat it. If you don’t stir up the ice cream, you’ll find the consistency is that of a creamy gelato yet more solid than gelato made with an ice cream maker. Serve with mint leaves and wait 1-2 minutes in case the ice cream has become very solid.
For gelato ai petali di rosa – rose petal ice cream, add 3 teaspoons rose syrup and a few rose petals, 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus 1-2 tablespoons sugar to the basic gelato mass. Our home-made syrups come in handy for this gelato. To make gelato alla Nutella – Nutella ice cream, add six tablespoons Nutella and 2 tablespoons (cane) sugar to the basic gelato mixture, heat it and put it into the freezer.