Gelato is an Italian frozen dessert made from milk and sugar. It is technically not an ice-cream because it does not contain cream and unlike ice-cream much denser because air is not beaten into it. Gelato is also much softer, because it is not frozen as much as ice-cream, and should melt in your mouth.
The other ingredients in gelatos depend on which part of Italy they originate from. So you can have some gelatos made with eggs while others which are egg-free.
My gelato is of the egg-free kind where the corn starch is the thickening agent.
Some of the credit for this recipe has to go to Harini of Tongue Ticklers. She has a monthly event on her blog which celebrates the colours in food and this month she chose the colours black and purple!
It just set me thinking about purple coloured food. I thought of egg plant/ aubergine but that doesn’t stay purple once it’s been cooked. Purple cabbage was another, but I have not seen it in the market here. Then I thought of grapes.
The the next question was what to make with grapes. I had made Grape mini-pies earlier and it was just a couple of weeks ago that inspiration hit me. Grape Ice-cream!
I like making gelato because it means it is egg-free, low in fat and adding fruit to it ensures having to add very little sugar to sweeten it. This makes for a comparatively healthy dessert. It also means I can get my daughter to have some of the fruits that she otherwise refuses to eat. A win-win situation, I’d say.
For this particular gelato I used unsweetened grape juice from the store. The better option would be to boil purple/ black grapes with some water and sugar (amount would depend upon how sweet the grapes are). Cool and strain to remove the skin and seeds.
The amount of sugar in this recipe may be adjusted according to the sweetness of your grapes or grape juice and if you use full fat milk you would get a richer and creamier gelato.
Here’s how I made this gelato.
1 litre milk (3% fat)
4 cups unsweetened grape juice
½ cup + ¼ cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
5 to 6 pods cardamom, powdered
½ tsp salt
In a pan, put the grape juice and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer till it reduces to about 1 cup of liquid. Add the cardamom powder and mix. Turn off the heat and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. It will take on the consistency of a not very thick syrup. Keep aside.
Keep aside ¼ cup of the milk.
In another heavy bottomed pan, put the remaining milk and sugar and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil, stirring constantly, till it reduces by a third in quantity.
Dissolve the corn starch in the ¼ cup of milk and add to the reduced milk, stirring constantly. Let the milk mixture boil till it thickens a bit. This should take a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Now put the milk mixture and the grape syrup in a liquidizer and blend well, for about a minute. You can do this using a whisk too. When the grape syrup is poured into the milk mixture, it might look like it is curdling. This probably because of the acidic nature of grapes. Liquidizing the mixture will take care of this.
Pour into a plastic or metal container with a lid and freeze. When the gelato is half set, remove and liquidize to break the ice crystals. Put it back in the freezer. Repeat this twice more.
Freeze till the gelato has set well but not hard. It should be soft enough to scoop easily.
Serve according to your taste. We had it plain and our daughter liked coloured sugar sprinkles on hers. Chocolate sauce and toasted nuts would probably taste good with this grape gelato, I think.
This recipe should serve 4 to 5.
So Harini, this gelato is for you. This gelato was deep purple when I started making it but the addition of the milk turned it much lighter.