It’s been so long since my last post. I don’t know where all this time went but I really missed this space. I was quite busy with university and work last autumn and winter and when I finally had more time to spend in the kitchen, all I wanted to do was to just enjoy cooking and not think about taking pictures and writing. I didn’t seem to get in the mood again.
But then my exams were over and I so felt the urge to get creative, cook, take out my camera and write. So here I am. I have been wanting to make gelato al torrone since I came home from Sicily last spring. I still daydream about Sicily a lot, it was everything I’d expected and more. I went on a round trip with my family and each place we visited left me overwhelmed by its beauty in some way, be it the citrus groves, a little garden in Palermo, the people, the ruines and of course the food. We ate the most incredible food on our journey, fresh fish, great pasta (“spaghetti con le sarde” was my favourite), refreshing salads (fennel with orange, tomato with olives, …) and amazing gelato. If you plan on going to Sicily, the Turntable Kitchen and deliciousdays have great guides on their blogs. And if you are GF definitely go there, they have GF pasta in every restaurant, immediately bring you GF crackers/bread and are well aware of what you can/can’t eat. It’s pretty much a GF’s paradise. :)
But back to the gelato. We bought lots of torrone at mercato Ballarò in Palermo and I knew I wanted to make ice cream with it. Then we went to Sestri Levante a few weeks ago, a town in northern Italy I have been to many times. I enjoyed my fair share of gelatos there and came home with the urge to finally make my own again.
This gelato is creamy and I like the sweetness it gets from the honey. I am usually not one for too many pieces in my gelato, I love gelato for its creaminess but the almonds and pistachios in this one made for a nice crunch that I didn’t mind one bit, in fact I enjoyed it not despite but because of the occasional chunks.
On another note, I am currently reading “Yes, Chef” by Marcus Samuelsson and enjoy reading it a lot. I am very impressed by his work ethic and quite in love with the way he describes food, beginning with his first food related memories to the foods he encounters and the scents he inhales in New York. His passion for food is infectious! Have you read it? Do you like it?
Gelato al torrone (adapted from Ices Italia by Linda Tubby, a great book with drop-dead gorgeous photographie)
- 0.5 l (2 cups) milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 100 g acacia (or other liquid) honey
- 1 tsp vanilla powder (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 250 g mascarpone
- 150 g torrone morbido, cut into pieces (almond or pistachio, mine had both; use nougat if you cannot find torrone)
Prepare an ice bath. Add the mascaprone to a bowl that you will later set over the ice bath and set aside. Heat milk slowly in a saucepan until it starts to cook. In the meantime beat egg yolks, honey and vanilla in a large, heat-proof bowl until the mixture turns pale. I used my kitchenaid for this but you can use any electric mixer. Add in the hot milk slowly and whisk continuously (!) to prevent any lumps from forming. Add the mixture back to the saucepan and place on low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon and scrape sides and bottom. This is very important, otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs. Heat the mixture until it thickens quite a bit, this should take around 10 minutes. It should cover the back of your wooden spoon. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl with the mascarpone. Whisk well. It doesn’t matter if there are still a few mascarpone lumps. Set the bowl over the ice bath. Leave to cool to room temp, then put in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mix in the torrone pieces (I like to add the torrone to the container that I later put the ice cream in and then mix it up with a spoon).
PS: I have just realised that this is the first time that I include mint in one of my pictures. I guess it was about time, considering the name of my blog, hooray!