FROM CHEF JOHN RUDY’S CORNER: GELATO

GELATO 

By John Rudy

In Sicily and Rome, you never see the words “ice cream.”  I don’t know why gelato has not totally caught on in the United States as most Americans who visit Italy fall in love with it.  We did an important study while on our trip to Sicily and Roma, and we rated the gelatos at about 8 difference places.  The best got a 9.5 on the “Mir Scale.”  The worst got a 7 (except for one at a hotel).

Good ice cream, as we all know, has a very high fat content.  The best ice cream is about 2:1 heavy cream to milk, plus egg yolks, and sugar, which is heated until the sugar dissolves.  It is then cooled and beaten (while kept cold) which introduces air (sometimes a lot) into the mix.

Gelato starts out with a similar custard base but has a higher proportion of whole milk and a lower proportion of both cream and eggs (or it may have no eggs at all).  Over-ripe fruit should be used for the best flavor.  The mixture is churned at a much slower rate, incorporating less air and leaving the gelato denser and smoother than ice cream.  Vanilla gelato contains about 90 calories and 3 grams of fat, compared to the 125 calories and 7 grams of fat in the average vanilla ice cream.

Gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, so its texture stays silkier and softer; it remains dense, though, due to the lack of air.  Because it has a lower percentage of fat than ice cream, the main flavor ingredients really shine through.  PBS traveler Rick Steves says that gelato should not be stored for a long time–preferably, in fact, for only a day or two.  So eating a lot is emphasized!

Here is a recipe for chocolate gelato, my favorite.

2¼ cups whole milk

⅓ cup heavy cream

¾ cup sugar, divided

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

4  extra-large egg yolks

2 tbsp coffee flavor liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

pinch kosher salt

8  chocolates, roughly chopped, optional but really good

  1. Heat the milk, cream, and ½ cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer.  Add the cocoa powder and chocolate; whisk until smooth.  Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.
  2. Place the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  A candy thermometer will register about 180° F.  Don’t allow the mixture to boil!
  3. Pour the mixture through a sieve (to remove any inadvertent lumps) into a bowl and stir in the coffee liqueur, vanilla, and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.
  4. Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Don’t over-beat.  Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate, if using, and freeze in covered containers.  Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving so it is not hard.

And enjoy!

BOLLI “Matters” feature writer John Rudy

Tech guru, inveterate traveler, and home chef John says that  it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

MEMOIR: DEAR TOM

BOLLI Writers Guild Prompt for December 5th, 2019 – Write a eulogy for a close friend or family member

DEAR TOM

by Marty Kafka

12.5.2019

Dear Tom,

You were probably not expecting to hear from me so soon.

After all, we only recently became rather intimately acquainted, and yet, I feel you are a part of my family now. I have even wondered if it could be some of your brethren running around my neighborhood, acquainting themselves with my hilly backyard.

Perhaps I met you personally in the recent past, chasing you away with a broom when you and your unruly gaggle tried to peck at my pant leg. Imagine that, right outside my back door. What Chutzpah! If that was you, I apologize; although if I think about it seriously, it is a bit too late for my indulging in sincerity. If you happen to be listening in right now or even reading this memoir from your perch in Turkey Heaven, please don’t choke on the seeds and grass you are nibbling on.

Well Tom, I am not the first to have tasted the delectable legs and crispy wings you provide.  And oh, that white breast! You probably can’t appreciate that you are so very delicious. Add home-made stuffing, mashed yams, green beans, and gravy made from your own body’s fat and giblets.  You are a Thanksgiving party in my mouth.

I could embellish your species’ reputation by claiming that you are a self-sacrificing breed, but we would both know that is a bold-faced exaggeration, like the kind our President recites frequently. Nor could I claim that I sacrificed you painlessly using a knife, gun, or other instant-kill weapon. Tom, you were frozen long before we brought you home and Karen packed your hollowed inner cavity with her family recipe for stuffing. Karen and I, as well as Julie and Stetson, feasted heartily at your expense this Thanksgiving. Thanks.

Your brethren have a long history here in Massachusetts, and as far as my family goes, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say we have always been wild about turkeys. We’ve been celebrating your kin for several generations, especially in Novembers.

We celebrate you, Tom, for your generosity of spirit, poor flying skills, and relatively low IQ (even for a bird0. You are easy prey for us human predators. The qualities you embody are endearing to us.

So, Tom, until we meet again, Good Cluck to you and your family.

Best in Health,

Marty

BOLLI Member Marty Kafka
Marty Kafka is a retired psychiatrist whose passions include his wife Karen and their family, international travel, and jazz piano. 
In addition, Marty has found a retirement career taking BOLLI classes, writing memoir, and being active in the Photography special interest group.