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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Gelato



Ever since I got back from Italy I have been raving about my "Bounty" coconut gelato, teasing you all with how fantastic it was.  It was time I ended the obsession and attempted to create this for myself.
Many wonder if there is a difference between ice cream and gelato?  There are so many different ice cream and gelato recipes on the Internet that the lines of distinction seem to get blurred quite easily.  Here are the key differences:
~Gelato has more milk and less cream.   Therefore also a healthier option
~Gelato has less air incorporated into it to keep it smoother and denser due to less cream.  This difference can be difficult to achieve using a home ice cream maker.
~Gelato is generally served and stored at a warmer temperature than ice cream, also difficult to achieve at home.
~Less fat in Gelato also means stronger bolder flavours since you are not fighting against the fat and creamy mouth coating.
Doesn't sound to encouraging for homemade gelato does it?  Many of the key differences are not easily achieved at home. It may be best to leave gelato up to the Italian pros.  I could always use another reason to go back there to get my gelato fill anyway.   Here is my first attempt.

Coconut Chocolate Gelato



Springtime M&M's if you are wondering.
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup coconut milk 
  • 1 cup half and half (18% cream)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup m&m's or chocolate chips. 



INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Combine the milk, cream, half of the sugar and vanilla paste into a medium saucepan.  Bring the milk nearly to a boil. When the very first bubbles begin to appear, take it immediately off the heat and let it cool.  Cover the sauce pan to allow more flavour to develop.
2) When the milk has cooled to about room temperature, (not too hot,  it will cook the egg prematurely) put the egg yolks into an electric mixer together with the other half of the sugar. Beat at a high setting until the egg yolks and sugar have been totally combined and are pale, rippled and thin.



3) Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add your cooled milk in a steady stream. Mix until everything is well combined
4) Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan.  Heat the mixture gently until the eggs thicken it into a thin custard. You want the mixture to lightly coat a spoon. Do not let the mixture boil or it will cause the egg to curdle.   You want steam but no boiling.  Feel free to keep a bit of cold milk or cream close by if you need to bring down the temperature.
5)  Once the mixture has thickened,  remove it from the heat and stir in the coconut extract,  pour it into a bowl and chill the mixture in the fridge, several hours or overnight.  Cover with saran wrap tight to the mixture to avoid a film from developing.  The mixture will continue to slightly thicken as it chills.


6) Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and run based on your machines instructions. My instructions call for churning of 20-30 minutes.
7) Add the coconut and half of the m&m's in the last 10 minutes.    Add the remaining m&m's by hand folding in before freezing.   Store in an airtight container before serving.



Did it live up to the hype you wonder?  Yes and No.   As I suspected this turned out more like an ice cream than gelato.  It really didn't have the light smooth creaminess a gelato has, partially because there were pieces of shredded coconut in it.    Although it wasn't the same as my Italian gelato it was still pretty darn good.   It really did taste like a frozen Bounty chocolate bar.

MEG's RATING : D-EEEE-LICIOUS!

coconut, gelato, m&m's, chocolate, ice cream

My ice cream collection to date:
Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Pralines and Cream
Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Oreo
Peanut Butter Cup
Coffee with Chocolate Chips and Toffee




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