Bill Blass is supposed to have said, “Red is the ultimate cure for sadness”. If this so, then we are an extremely happy family right now. The season’s fruits and vegetables are here and strawberries (and red winter carrots) rule here at the moment. Another three weeks and strawberries will start disappearing from the market to return only a year later. So right now, I’m making Strawberry Stracciatella Gelato.
I love strawberries but I wasn’t always very fond of them. We never knew them outside storybooks when we were younger. The first strawberries I ever ate were tart. We get good strawberries now every season, and these are quite sweet. So every season, I’m on the look out for different ways to use up the season’s bounty. This time I’m trying out Strawberry Stracciatella Gelato. The summer is almost here and frozen desserts are always welcome.
Chocolate pairs excellently with strawberries and a Strawberry Stracciatella Gelato is a perfect example. I first came across the recipe on a blog called A Spoonful of Sugar. I write to the blogger behind the blog, Angela and she sent me her recipe for it. Unfortunately, the blog is no longer on the net and I’ve lost touch with Angela.
What is Stracciatella? In Italian, “stracciato” means “torn apart” and normally describes a soup into which egg is incorporated such that it forms shreds/ stracciatelle in the soup. In Gelato, uit refers to thin bits of chocolate in gelato which is what this recipe is about.
Strawberry Stracciatella Gelato is made by finely drizzling melted chocolate onto frozen Strawberry Gelato or Ice-cream. The chocolate solidifies into thin pieces when it hits the cold ice-cream. This is broken up by lightly stirring the ice-cream. The result is a smooth ice-cream/ gelato with the slightest crunch/ crackle of chocolate which is truly an experience.
Angela used an ice-cream maker but I don’t have one. So one way to achieve the thin streaks of chocolate in the Gelato is to drizzle it into your ice-cream maker while it is churning and the Gelato is almost set. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker you can drizzle the melted chocolate on almost set Gelato. Quickly break up the streaks and drizzle again. Yet another way is to put your almost set Gelato into a food processor. Run it on the slowest speed and drizzle the melted chocolate into it. Then stop the processor immediately. Otherwise the streaks of chocolate will get broken up!
I made this Gelato to serve after lunch but my husband and our daughter decided they were having it right after breakfast! Never had dessert after breakfast? Try this gelato on a Sunday, it’s quite an experience.
Strawberry Stracciatella Gelato
For the Gelato :
- 3 cups finely chopped strawberries
- 1/2 cup sugar (adjust as required)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 500 ml milk (3% fat)
- 3 tsps custard powder or cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Stracciatella:
- 75 gm semi-sweet chocolate chopped
- 25 gm milk chocolate chopped
- Put the chopped strawberries in a bowl and add the sugar, honey, lemon juice and salt. Mix well and refrigerate this for about 30 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, boil the all the milk except half a cup. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium. To the half cup of cold milk, add the custard powder/ cornstarch and mix well to dissolve it. Add this to the boiling milk and keep stirring till the milk thickens to a custard consistency. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, while stirring the custard frequently to prevent a skin from forming.
- Take the strawberry mixture out and puree it. Add the vanilla extract and the milk custard and blend well. Pour into a plastic or metal bowl, cover it and freeze.
- Then follow Angela's advice to me which was to pour the mixture into a plastic freezer box , cover the surface with clingfilm, put a lid on and freeze. Thereafter re-mix with a fork every 30 minutes until it reaches the right consistency. The ice cream should be eaten within 3 weeks; before serving, remove it to the main body of the refrigerator for 20 minutes to soften.
- When you think the Gelato has almost reached the right texture, then melt your chocolate oil together over hot water. Let it cool slightly and then quickly drizzle a little over the surface of the Gelato. It should set on contact and then you need to quickly stir the chocolate into the Gelato, breaking up any long strands of chocolate into small pieces. Keep repeating until the chocolate is used up. You may need to pop the Gelato back in the freezer during this process if it starts to melt.
- You can drizzle the melted chocolate using a food processor if you have one. Once the Gelato is the right consistency and almost ready, put it in the food processor bowl. Run on the slowest speed and drizzle the melted chocolate in thin streams. Stop the processor immediately, before the chocolate gets ground up.
- It is important to drizzle the chocolate in a thin stream and this can be done using a fork. That would give you the perfect texture. I'm afraid my drizzling technique left a lot to be desired, and I did get a few slightly larger pieces of chocolate in my Gelato but we enjoyed it all the same.