Sunday, June 10, 2018

Gianduja Gelato

I'd like to think my palate has evolved enough to allow ice cream jostle and vie for a place that has long been occupied by cake (ok, chocolate cake). Chocolate ice cream and its variations only seemed an organic offshoot of that happy decision.

And thus, Gianduja gelato. Gianduja (pronounced giyandooyah) is this magical concoction of chocolate and ground hazelnuts, of Italian origin and the best(est) tasting cousin of the famous Nutella. Naturally, it had me at 'hazlenut and chocolate'. The texture is ultra smooth and not overly sweet. I have only tasted it at Fenocchio, the famous Glaçier in Nice, France, and while some of you may argue it isn't exactly what they serve in Turin, Italy, it did get me intrigued and hooked enough to eat it every single day of my stay there. 

I am no longer in Nice, France, nor am I in Turin, Italy. But I am thankfully with access to David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop that has the same dazzling flavor. And I went the whole 9 yards by making the waffle cones AND the super addictive magic shell! (That shell is da bomb! Just two ingredients, but the transformation it has when poured over the ice cream is beyond amazing)

So without further ado, here's the ice cream that has us swooning and having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Heavy cream 2 cups (500 ml)
Whole milk 1 cup (250 ml)
Sugar 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
4 yolks
Toasted and skinned hazelnuts 185g
Milk Chocolate, chopped  115 g

-Process the hazelnuts in the food processor till it starts to become a paste. 
-Heat a cup of the cream in a saucepan until it just begins to boil. Once warm, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Mix it with a spoon till it has melted completely and is smooth.
-Heat milk, remaining cream, sugar (all but 3 tablespoons) and salt in a thick bottomed saucepan. Once it is warm to touch, add the hazelnut purée and mix it in. Turn off the flame and leave it steep for an hour at least.
-Here again I deviate from the original recipe: I used a powerful stick blender and blended the milk/hazelnut mixture for 2 minutes: the result is a super creamy and flavourful mixture. The original recipe says that you strain the mixture with a strainer.

-Prepare an ice bath.
-Heat the hazelnut/milk mixture again on a low flame.u
-Whisk by hand the yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl till pale in color.
-Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the warm hazelnut mixture into the yolks mixture in a steady drizzle while steadily whisking with the other hand (this is to temper the yolks; so that the yolks don't scramble on contact with heat).
-Pour the entire contents of the bowl into the saucepan over the heat and keep whisking. Continue cooking the mixture till it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
-Pour the custard through a strainer and stir in the melted chocolate. Add the vanilla and stir. Place over an ice bath and let it come to room temperature. 
-Chill the mixture in the fridge for 8 hours and then freeze it in your ice cream maker according the manufacturer's instructions.

-The original recipe calls for milk chocolate but I happened to have and thus use good quality dark chocolate from France and it made a world of a difference. In any case, use good quality chocolate. 
-The original recipe also calls for 5 yolks, but I only used 4.
As David himself recommends, I added a a good drizzle of melted dark chocolate to the ice cream during the last minute of churning. That extra step ensured that I have extra chocolate shards to bite into and the contrast in textures is amazing.

Magic shell

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
Dark chocolate, chopped 125g
Coconut oil 50g

Heat the chopped chocolate in a double boiler. Add the coconut oil and stir to get a smooth mixture. And voilà! Store in an container in room temperature. For best results, let your dip harden on ice cream for 30 seconds before digging in. You'll know it's ready when the surface turns from glossy to completely matte and a light tap with a spoon gives you a knocking sound.

Waffle cone 

I make my waffle cones in this nifty contraption that I got from the US (Please make note that there is a non-compatibility with regard to the voltage/plug point, I made alternate arrangements to make it work for me). Needless to say, it is a priceless addition to my pantry and lets us don our self-appointed titles of ice cream connoiseurs with panache.

2 large egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a small bowl stir together the egg whites, sugar and vanilla. Add the salt and half the flour, stir, then stir in the melted butter. Beat in the remaining flour until the batter is smooth. Make waffle cones as per manufacturer's instructions. 


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