This strawberry gelato can be considered a starting point for any fruit gelato. You may have always thought that authentic gelato sadly is out of reach short of traveling to Italy, but you will be pleased with how close you can come. With the right equipment and some secrets, you can come pretty close to the Italian experience. After much research and much trial and error, I have developed some tips for successful gelato at home. The key to this is using simple syrup supplemented by the best equipment your budget allows. Please check out this discussion and tips here.
Hopefully, following this advice, you will have some great gelato at home to enjoy while you stroll around your own piazza.
Notes on Ingredients
Although this recipe uses strawberries, you can use this as a starting point for almost any fruit gelato. Because the sweetness of the fruit may vary, the quantities of the attached recipe should be considered as a guide as detailed below. Increase or decrease the simple syrup and/or sugar as needed. You can determine by tasting your unfrozen mixture to determine if you got the sweetness right. The gelato frozen will not taste as sweet as unfrozen. Therefore, the unfrozen mixture should taste a bit too sweet.
Simple syrup is nothing more than sugar boiled in water. However, the impact of this transformation in gelato is almost magical. Full credit is owed to Gina Stipo of Ecco La Cucina who offers the solution to up the amount of simple syrup quite a bit. This is discussed in greater detail in my overview of gelato, but simply it is replacing large molecules of sugar with smaller ones making for a less icy texture.
Notes on Technique
Ice Cream Maker and Immersion Blender
The choice of ice cream maker is key to making gelato. In particular, you want a maker with a gelato setting that will more slowly churn the mixture. This ensures there is less air in the final product producing the desired texture. Please see my discussion on equipment for making gelato.
Lastly, an immersion blender is super useful tool for completely mixing the bananas, sugar and liquids.
Gelato is best when enjoyed fresh. It allows for the use of fresh fruit and other ingredients. Therefore, it is not intended for long term storage. Furthermore, I have found that completely filling multiple pint containers (as opposed to one large container) improves storage time.
Even under the best of storage, after about 3 or 4 days, the gelato will become a slight bit icier. Still tasty yes, but not quite as good of texture.
- 3 cups strawberries, untrimmed. After roughly chopping and trimming should produce about 2 cups or 285 grams
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup simple syrup (see note 1)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- Trim the greens off the strawberries, roughly chop and remove all bad spots. Add to a large beaker or bowl. Toss with lemon juice.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the beaker (or bowl). Process with an immersion blender to puree strawberry and dissolve sugar. (You may leave some small chunks of strawberries, as desired.)
- Chill in ice cream maker following the unit's instructions.
- Place the chilled gelato in a tub or one-pint containers. Chill overnight.
Note 1: A simple syrup of a mixture of one part sugar to one part water, boiled for 5 minutes then chilled.