Adapted from "The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto" by F. W. Pearce and Danilo Zecchin
Those critical of weak coffee ice cream will appreciate this gelato flavored with bits of finely ground espresso beans and a dose of espresso powder. It will have you wired in no time. For a caffeinated double-chocolate dessert, try it in an Espresso Mud Pie.
Game plan: The unfrozen gelato base can be made up to 2 days in advance, but it needs 3 to 4 hours to harden in the freezer after it’s been processed.
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon very finely ground espresso beans
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
- 2Combine 2 cups of the milk and the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally (so a skin doesn’t form), until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- 3Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk mixture, whisking continuously so that the hot mixture doesn’t scramble the eggs. Return the custard to the saucepan.
- 4Cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the spoon. (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should make a mark through the mixture, which should not run back in on itself.) Do not bring to a boil.
- 5Pour the mixture through the fine-mesh strainer and into the prepared bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. (To cool the base quickly, make an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl of the espresso base in it; stir the base until cooled.) Cover and refrigerate the base until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- 6Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of the ground espresso beans in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Pour the milk mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid; discard the solids. Add the instant espresso powder and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.
- 7Gently whisk the milk-espresso mixture into the gelato base, then whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon ground espresso beans. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving. The gelato will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.
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