If chocolate chip ice cream is your go-to flavor then this Stracciatella is the gelato to try. Gelato in general is lower in fat than most ice cream, which actually allows for a more intense flavor and dense yet creamy texture. It is essentially a vanilla base with what end up being delicate flakes of bittersweet chocolate. It is more sophisticated than chocolate chip ice cream and the technique of creating the chocolate “chips” is fun and a learning experience. Listen to author Morgan Morano and use a good quality chocolate; it will make all the difference (she likes Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli and Cacao Barry). You do need an ice cream maker for this recipe, which along with the Fior di Latte come from The Art of Making Gelato.
The Art of Making Gelato by Morgan Morano. Race Point Publishing, 2015.
Named for the straccia, “strips” or “shreds” of chocolate, in the gelato, Italy’s version of chocolate chip is much more decorative in appearance than its American ice cream counterpart.
The pieces of chocolate that speckle this gelato have been previously melted, causing them to dissolve more quickly in the mouth. Additional spoonfuls of melted chocolate drizzled all over the top combine with the milky flavor and creamy texture of the base to create a much-favored flavor. Stracciatella is one of the few flavors that almost always sells out daily at Morano Gelato, and it’s easy to understand why.
Any dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao) will work for the chocolate-chip base, but my preference is 60 percent cacao. Although the base is simple, an extra step is required to melt and add the chocolate after the gelato has finished freezing. Don’t be tempted to add more chocolate to the recipe because it will change the consistency of the gelato. A little extra chocolate on top enhances the presentation as well as the flavor of the gelato, and this is how it is served in Italy. Stracciatella gelato goes with just about any dessert or gelato flavor, but when blended with Menta gelato, it creates an irresistible frappé.
- 2 ounces / 56 grams milk powder
- 6.35 ounces / 180 grams granulated sugar
- 0.7 ounce / 20 grams tapioca starch
- 6.75 ounces / 192 grams heavy cream
- 24.15 ounces / 685 grams whole milk
- 0.95 ounce / 27 grams light corn syrup
- 5.3 ounces / 150 grams 60% to 70% dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Prepare: Mix the milk powder, sugar, and tapioca starch in a bowl.
- Add the heavy cream and whole milk and whisk well to incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the liquid.
- Whisk in the corn syrup.
- Cook: Pour the mixture into a 2.5-quart / 1.42-liter saucepan, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously to prevent any burning or clumping. Whisk slowly in the beginning and increase speed as the mixture gets warmer and begins to steam and thicken. It should thicken without boiling after 8 to 10 minutes on the heat; watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Once the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, continue cooking 15 seconds longer, whisking vigorously. Then immediately remove from the heat.
- Freeze: Pour the mixture into a clean glass or stainless-steel bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on top. Allow the mixture to sit 30 to 45 minutes until no longer hot. Then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 4 hours. If the mixture needs to be used right away, submerge most of the bowl in an ice bath and let it sit 30 to 40 minutes, refreshing the ice as necessary.
- Once the mixture has cooled completely and thickened further, pour it into the bowl of the gelato machine and churn the gelato according to the manufacturer’s directions. The gelato will expand and should spin until it’s thick and creamy but still soft enough to scoop into a storage container, about 30 to 55 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, scoop the gelato into a storage container. Place the uncovered container immediately in the freezer and begin prepping the chocolate chip base.
- Prepare the Chocolate: Fill a small saucepan a quarter of the way with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The water should remain at a simmer. Place the chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl over the saucepan to create a double boiler. The bowl should fit snugly on top of the saucepan, but the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. The steam from the simmering water will melt the chocolate. Using a heatproof spatula, stir the chocolate from time to time to ensure even melting.
- Once the chocolate is fully melted and liquid, turn off the heat and carefully remove the bowl from the saucepan. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly for 2 minutes. Remove the gelato from the freezer. It’s important to work very quickly as the gelato should not melt much during this process. Using a tablespoon, begin drizzling the melted chocolate into the gelato and gently swirl it in with a spatula. Save a small amount of chocolate to drizzle on top before serving. The chocolate should freeze upon contact with the gelato. Make sure to incorporate the chocolate into the gelato at the bottom of the container so that little pieces of chocolate can be seen throughout the gelato. Do not take more than 3 minutes to add in the chocolate or the gelato will begin to melt.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly on the surface of the gelato, seal the storage container with an airtight lid, and put it in the freezer.
- Freeze at least 4 to 6 hours. When ready, the gelato should be firm enough to scoop but soft and creamy in texture. Remove the gelato from the freezer a few minutes before serving.
- Serve: Reheat the chocolate set aside for garnish either over the pot of simmering water used before or in the microwave on low, being careful that it doesn’t burn. Drizzle chocolate decoratively on top of the gelato. Put the gelato back in the freezer for 5 more minutes to allow the chocolate to harden before serving.
- Enjoy the fresh gelato as soon as possible. If using after 2 days, allow 8 to 10 minutes for the gelato to soften outside of the freezer before eating.
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