I shall never forget the first time I tasted gelato in one of Florence’s most popular gelaterias. It was so creamy, so luscious and yet so light — I was hooked!
The minute I got back home from my trip, I started experimenting. I had a bounty of recipes for ice creams, but none for their lighter Italian cousins. The thought of making gelato, without cream or eggs, was especially alluring to me, so I set about trying to duplicate some of the flavors I had tasted in Florence.
Then came the idea of infusing gelatos with fresh herbs. Not too surprising if you know me even a little: I am totally seduced by fresh herbs and use them just about every time I cook! Basil, mint, lemon balm soon became the new flavors perfuming my gelatos. But none of them was as delightful as today’s rosemary infusion.
This gelato is good enough just on its own — but it makes a perfect pairing for many of my desserts, all year long. In the spring, I love it with fresh strawberries. In the summer I pair it with cobblers, like this peach-raspberry cobbler. In the fall I find it irresistible with any apple desserts, and in the winter I serve it with a butternut squash and Cointreau tart.
Buon appetito (it won’t stick to your waistline)… And happy gelato-making!
Rosemary gelato with crème fraîche
makes 2 pints
active time: 20 min
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2/3 cup organic sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup crème fraîche (see cook’s note 2)
- Step 1: Place 3 cups of milk in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the milk reaches boiling point, add the rosemary, reduce heat and fast-simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover pan and let stand for 15 minutes to infuse the milk. Strain milk, discard the rosemary and pour milk back in the pan.
- Step 2: Place the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Re-heat infused milk over medium-high heat. As soon as the milk comes to a boil, quickly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil again and then reduce heat to achieve a fast simmer. Continue whisking constantly for 5 to 6 minutes until the mixture has slightly thickened (it should be the consistency of heavy cream).
- Step 3: Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours in the refrigerator (or overnight), or 45 minutes in the freezer.
- Step 4: When the gelato is well chilled, whisk in the crème fraîche until well blended. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream or gelato maker and freeze according to the instructions of your machine. Transfer the gelato to a container and freeze for 2 to 3 hours before serving. (The gelato should have firmed up, but should still be a bit soft.)
- Cook’s note: The gelato will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, but is best eaten the day it’s made. Remove from freezer and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly softened before serving.