Somehow in the minds of the dr bob cooking team, a real self-freezing ice cream machine had always remained in the category of delayed acquisitions for some remote future date, one of those upscale toys that was an indulgence whose time had not yet come. Which is the beauty of gift giving (receiving!). Out of the blue someone decides for you that the time has come. We had done so as a wedding present for close friends in Italy, after another close friend had taken the plunge herself, researching the best product and verifying the claims with personal experience, and we got a purchase deal (still a considerable pile of lira at the time) from another close friend whose parents had a small appliance store, but soon after marrying, reproduction began and the gelato experience was cut short by the arrival of two delightful little girls, more fun than making ice cream but of course a lot more work.
And without an ice cream machine, you can't really experiment with ice cream recipes. So when bob was browsing in Borders some years ago and spotted the newly issued paperback Under the Tuscan Sun which marked the beginning of a wave of American fascination with farmhouses and country living in Tuscany, and leafed through it and spotted a hazelnut gelato recipe introduced with superlative hype by the author Frances Mayes, he snatched it up without any immediate plans for execution, although clearly with the intention of one day trying it himself. The whole cooking team read the book, but still this did not push the ice cream machine buy-me button. We did, however, eventually get our weekend in a farmhouse on a hill in Umbria, as a guest of our first ice cream machine advisor, when we finally were initiated into the mysteries of pizza making.
Then Christmas 2003 arrived, and our dessert-garnishing on-line-shopper sister-in-law surprised bob with a web-researched best-buy ice cream maker. It was only a matter of time before the hazelnut gelato dream was realized. The first two holiday batches were vanilla and chocolate, since the finicky nieces and nephews, like most American kids below a certain age, wouldn't accept any other flavors. Then we were free to try hazelnut, with a little experience already under our belts. The adult focus group we tried it out on loved it. And repeated compliments more than necessary, going so far as to hint they would gladly accept any overproduction that might occur in the future. A winning strategy for them since we like to please.
And the move from hazelnut (Frangelico) to limoncello, a simple switch of our two favorite Italian liqueurs that proved successful with cheesecake, was the obvious next step. And we couldn't resist the urge to meddle a bit with the details in the modification. While guessing wildly on the amount of limoncello to go with. Looks like we guessed right. More adulation. If only we can figure out how to reduce the fat someday soon...
So the next flavor choice was ani's favorite ice cream flavor: pistachio, which is a favorite Middle East nut. It took a long time for bob to distinguish pistachio from mint ice cream because they both were light green, and mint, though prized in salads and savory dishes by everybody on the dr bob cooking team now, has been on the dr bob dessert blacklist for life. Eventually bob caught on. After tasting a delicious version of pistachio at a new area gourmet gelato storefront Capogiro which even bob had to admit tasted better than his choices, we had to try it ourselves. A Google search leading to RecipeSource.com, and a separate check of Epicurious.com guided us in our modification to include a teaspoon each of almond and vanilla extract, with a touch of cardamom from on-line reader feedback to the Bon Appetit recipe. Another success story.
|hazelnut gelato||limoncello gelato||pistachio gelato|
|3 egg yolks||3 egg yolks||3 egg yolks|
|3/4 c sugar||3/4 c sugar||3/4 c sugar|
|1 T Frangelico||1/4 c limoncello||1 t almond extract|
|1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cardamom
|2 c [= 1 pt] half and half (nonfat?)||2 c [= 1 pt] half and half (nonfat?)||2 c [= 1 pt] half and half (nonfat?)|
|1 c heavy (or light) cream||1 c heavy (or light) cream||1 c heavy (or light) cream|
|juice and zest of 1 lemon|
|3/4 c hazelnuts, toasted and
|3/4 c pistachios, finely crumbed
1/4 c pistachios, roughly chopped
This multitasking recipe is a bit busy. Here is the hazelnut by itself as it has evolved since its inception.
This basic recipe can easily be converted into many other variations with a little imagination.
The color is a weird shade of pink, but delicious. [Google reveals
lingonberry to be a type of cranberry.]