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Test Kitchen video tip: Keep cool with simple gelato tips and recipes

Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter, shows how easy it is to make gelato at home

Sometimes, nothing beats the summer heat better than a bowl of cold, creamy gelato. Italian for "ice cream," gelato is almost like standard ice cream, but because it doesn't contain as much air, has a more dense and creamy texture. Best of all? It's simple to make at home.

Unlike many other frozen desserts, gelato doesn't call for any special equipment. All you need are a couple of bowls, a whisk, a blender and a little arm power.

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For fresh strawberry gelato, have ready some cleaned berries, a little sugar, water, ice and rock salt. In a blender, combine the strawberries, sugar and water. Blend the ingredients until smooth.

Place the strawberry mixture in a small metal bowl over a larger bowl containing the ice and salt and whip with a hand whisk for about 10 minutes to lighten the texture to a thick, slushy consistency.

Freeze the gelato base for about 1 1/2 hours before serving. That's all there is to it. It's a quick homemade remedy for the summer heat. You can find the recipe for this and other gelato recipes below.

Cooking is fun — at least it should be! No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.

STRAWBERRY GELATO (WATER-BASED)

Total time: 20 minutes plus about 1 1/2 hours freezing time | Serves 8 (Makes about 1 quart gelato)

Note: Adapted from Carpigiani Gelato University.

    1 pound cleaned strawberries (fresh or frozen)
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/4 cups water
    1 1/2 pounds ice
    1 pound rock salt

1. In a blender, combine the strawberries, sugar and water. Blend the ingredients until smooth.

2. Place the strawberry mixture in a small metal bowl over a larger bowl containing the ice and salt and whip with a hand whisk for about 10 minutes to lighten the texture, or to desired consistency.

3. Freeze the gelato base for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Each serving: 116 calories; 0 protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 28 grams sugar; 1 mg. sodium.

STRAWBERRY GELATO (MILK-BASED)

Total time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time and 1 1/2 hours freezing time | Serves 8 (Makes about 1 quart gelato)

Note: Adapted from Carpigiani Gelato University.

    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 tablespoons skim milk powder
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
    2 to 3 cups cleaned strawberries (fresh or frozen)
    1 1/2 pounds ice
    1 pound rock salt

1. Prepare the milk base: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, milk powder, heavy cream and 1 cup sugar. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a strong simmer, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 3 hours, up to 2 days refrigerated.

2. In a blender, combine the cooled milk base with the strawberries and remaining three-fourths cup sugar. Blend the ingredients until smooth.

3. Place the strawberry mixture in a small metal bowl over a larger bowl containing the ice and salt and whip with a hand whisk for about 10 minutes to lighten the texture, or to desired consistency.

4. Freeze the gelato base for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Each serving: 243 calories; 2 grams protein; 51 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 15 mg. cholesterol; 49 grams sugar; 48 mg. sodium.

LEMON GELATO (WATER-BASED)

Total time: 20 minutes plus 1 1/2 hours freezing time | Serves 8 (Makes about 1 quart gelato)

Note: Adapted from Carpigiani Gelato University.

    1 cup lemon juice, from about 6 lemons
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    2 cups water
    1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) diced apple (about 1 apple), cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
    1 1/2 pounds ice
    1 pound rock salt

1. In a blender, combine the lemon juice, sugar, water and diced apple. Blend the ingredients until smooth.

2. Place the lemon mixture in a small metal bowl over a larger bowl containing the ice and salt and whip with a hand whisk for about 10 minutes to lighten the texture, or to desired consistency.

3. Freeze the gelato base for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Each serving: 124 calories; 0 protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 1 mg. sodium.

CHOCOLATE GELATO

Total time: 40 minutes plus cooling time and about 1 1/2 hours freezing time | Serves 8 (Makes about 1 quart gelato)

Note: Adapted from Carpigiani Gelato University.

    2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 tablespoons skim milk powder
    1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    3 1/2 ounces chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa
    1 1/2 pounds ice
    1 pound rock salt

1. Prepare the chocolate base: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, honey, milk powder and cocoa powder. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a strong simmer, about 7 to 8 minutes. While the mixture is heating, add the chocolate to melt. Remove from heat and set aside for 3 hours, up to 2 days refrigerated.

2. Place the cooled base in a medium aluminum bowl.

3. Place the bowl over a larger bowl of ice and salt and whip the base with a hand whisk for about 10 minutes to lighten the texture; it will be a soft ice cream consistency.

4. Freeze the gelato base for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Each of 8 servings: 203 calories; 3 grams protein; 31 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 8 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 27 grams sugar; 35 mg. sodium.

PARMESAN GELATO

Total time: 30 minutes plus cooling time and 1 1/2 hours freezing time | Serves 8 (Makes about 1 quart gelato)

Note: Adapted from Carpigiani Gelato University.

    4 1/4 cups milk
    1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) heavy cream
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup finely grated Parmesan
    1 1/2 pounds ice
    1 pound rock salt

1. Prepare the milk base: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a strong simmer, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 3 hours, up to 2 days refrigerated.

2. In a medium aluminum bowl, combine the cooled milk base with the sugar and Parmesan cheese.

3. Place the bowl over a larger bowl containing the ice and salt and whip the mixture with a hand whisk for about 10 minutes to lighten the texture, or to desired consistency.

4. Freeze the gelato base for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Each of 8 servings: 241 calories; 8 grams protein; 26 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 12 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 40 mg. cholesterol; 25 grams sugar; 214 mg. sodium.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter

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