Although refreshing during the summer months, frozen desserts can be enjoyed any time of year. I recently experimented with various recipes I accumulated over the years to try to make them somewhat healthier. One easy way to do that is to make gelato. The main difference being that gelato usually contains less fat by using milk in place of all or some of the cream. White Chocolate and Kahlúa Gelato contains some of my favorite ingredients.
White chocolate makes an amazingly creamy gelato but did you know it is not chocolate at all. “Real” chocolate must contain cocoa solids. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, which is the main source of fat in chocolate, but no cocoa solids. When buying white chocolate look for cocoa butter as one of the ingredients, otherwise it will be an inferior product.
Lindt makes an excellent white chocolate and is my preferred brand. It melts well and is incredibly smooth and creamy. Kahlúa is a rum and coffee liqueur but Amaretto also works well. Adding liqueur to ice cream or gelato gives it a softer consistency since the alcohol doesn’t freeze but you can also leave it out. I like using a vanilla bean instead of extract because it gives you the subtle brown specks in the gelato that make it look doubly appealing.
To scald the milk you bring it just to a boil and then take it off the heat. Scalding helps to dissolve the sugar and eggs and also extracts the most flavor out of the vanilla bean. A skin may form on the surface of the milk but can be mixed back in since the custard will eventually be strained.
When making the custard use a candy thermometer if you have one. You can attach it to the side of the pan and keep an eye on the temperature while stirring. You don’t want to exceed 180 degrees or the eggs will scramble. If you don’t have one just use an instant read thermometer.
I have an Italian Lussino ice cream machine that I bought many years ago. It is electric and produces flawless ice creams, gelato and sorbet in 30 minutes or less. This is however, on the expensive side and under Kitchen Tools I recommend the Cuisinart ICE-21 ice cream maker. The only downside to this type of machine is that you have to put the bowl in the freezer before using and it’s not possible to make two batches one after the other without refreezing the bowl.
White Chocolate and Kahlúa Gelato
- 6 ounces white chocolate chopped (Lindt is a good quality)
- 2 cups milk whole or 2%
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 whole vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon Kahlúa Liqueur Amaretto is also good
- Place white chocolate in pyrex measuring cup or glass bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes on 50% power. Remove from microwave and stir. If there are still lumps, microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Be sure to stir each time. Set aside. At most you should need 3 minutes at 50% power.
- Pour milk into heavy bottomed saucepan (if using vanilla bean, slit down center, scrape out seeds and add seeds and bean to milk). Place over high heat and scald. A skin will form on the surface and you can remove it or leave it in since the custard will be strained at the end.
- Whisk yolks and sugar in small bowl until thick and light yellow. Whisk in 2-4 tablespoons hot milk. Stir yolks back into remaining milk and whisk.
- Over medium-low heat stir until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Using an instant read or candy thermometer, do not let the temperature go over 180F or the eggs will curdle.
- Immediately strain into bowl (stainless steel is best because it will cool faster once the bowl is set over ice).
- Stir in the Kahlúa and vanilla (if using extract). Whisk in the melted white chocolate. Cool the mixture (this can be done quickly by placing bowl over an ice bath). Alternatively, place in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight, until cold. When cold enough (40F or less) pour into ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturers instructions. Enjoy!