Friday, June 15, 2012

Chocolate Espresso Gelato

Chocolate Espresso Gelato

No, I haven't forgotten about you. With such a busy month of May (at least, for me) I recently just realized that I hadn't published here in the last couple of weeks. I actually cooked last week with the intention of posting the recipe here but the result was not well and ultimately it's not something I'd recommend.

Meanwhile, Siri Pinter of SIRIously Delicious recently published a Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream recipe where she linked an instructional blog post by David Lebovitz. Also as I've been reading the blogosphere lately, I've seen a lot of ice cream recipes now that summer is upon us and I wanted to contribute however, anyone can make a custard and throw it into an ice cream machine, but churning manually? Like I've stated before, quick and easy is not my style. My readers ought to know me by now: I love a challenge.

The Challenge

Prepare homemade gelato without an ice cream machine.

The Source

The gelato base is taken from page 207 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking by Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher. The freezing and churning process is taken from David Lebovitz from the link above.


1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup white sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons ground espresso roast coffee
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup (approximately 2 1/4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


1. Combine the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and espresso in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderately low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well blended. When the milk mixture simmers, gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs to warm them, then pour the warmed eggs into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture visibly thickens and reaches 175⁰ Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer. Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

3. Immediately remove from the heat and strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add the chocolate, whisking until it melts. Then chill it over an ice bath.

(It is at this point where I start using Chef Lebovitz's instructions. If you have an ice cream machine, use it here according to the manufacturers instructions.)

4. Put a deep baking dish, or bowl made of plastic, stainless steel or something durable in the freezer, and pour your custard mixture into it.

5. After forty-five minutes, open the door and check it. As it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk. Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections. Return to freezer.

6. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing. If you have one, you can use a hand-held mixer for best results, or use an immersion blender. You can also use just a spatula or a sturdy whisk along with some modest physical effort.

7. Keep checking periodically and stirring while it freezes (by hand or with the electric mixer) until the ice cream is frozen. It will likely take 2 to 3 hours to be ready.


After the first 30 minutes, I noticed the custard had barely frozen so I checked on it every 45 minutes thereafter. It took a little longer than advertised (about 4 hours), but my freezer is near my stovetop and I had to cook dinner while the custard sat in it. It was a little warm in the home too.

Ultimately, yes. Not only was I successful in churning the gelato, but the espresso gave the dessert depths of flavor and I highly encourage you to try this recipe.


  1. Gelato does have such an amazing texture. I have yet to make it for myself, but seeing this post and knowing how expensive it is to buy gelato does give me motivation. Lovely classic flavors here. So good I know that a double batch would be in order. Enjoy the weekend!

  2. This looks delicious! Impressive that you did this without an ice cream maker-I def would not have had the patience to do this!

  3. Great recipe, and i love gelato as well any kind of flavor! :) Thank you for sharing!

  4. Very impressive! Gelato is such an amazing treat. I especially love the combination of chocolate and espresso. Well done.

  5. Thank you for letting me know that we can make gelato at home without ice-cream maker! Let me study your recipe carefully and practice it :)

  6. Wow, it looks perfectly creamy! Well done! I've never tried to churn my own ice cream... I would definitely have to set a timer or something, because I would probably forget it in the freezer. :P

    Also, I love adding a bit of espresso to chocolate to deepen the flavor - such a great idea!

  7. gelato is what I always got in Italy. And your chocolate-coffee combo sounds amazing!

  8. You have more patience than I do... I like letting my ice cream machine do all the work! But it looks like you got a real sweet reward.

  9. I broke my ice cream machine :( so I'm delighted to get this easy recipe. Coffee loves chocolate so great that you've included a jolt of espresso in this lovely creation.

  10. That would be perfect on a summer evening!! :)

  11. A nice summer treat. I haven't made any gelato yet, but this would be on my ice list!

  12. I'm afraid I left the comment box without finishing completely. I don't remember putting the code, but I accidentally closed the comment box.

    I was saying that I'm impressed by your attitude toward giving yourself challenges. I bought my ice cream maker after I can't help myself making ice cream on my own instead of drooling over someone's ice cream posts. Your ice cream looks delicious!

  13. I love homemade ice cream, but I don't know if I could do with out my ice cream maker. I'm glad you are back to posting, I hear you on being super busy. So I still haven't gotten a chance to read that IACP post link you gave me.

  14. Must try this! I'm so saving the recipe and will make it soon (as soon as I can get a break from my kids' crazy summer schedule). Thanks for sharing it.

  15. Mmm gelato! I must have had it 3 times a day when I went to Italy years ago.

  16. I had four long years of making ice cream by hand - it's fulfilling, for sure. It's as though, if you work harder for it, your treat always tastes better :)

  17. What a wonderful pics of chocolate espresso gelato you have here.
    Perhaps you're interested to submit your food photos on a food photography site that has tagline "Food Photography that will make you hungry" :)
    It's free to submit, free to join, and a lot of members can enjoy your creation!

  18. This looks delicious! I've got to try this soon! :) Thanks for the Twitter follow also :)


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