Happy National Ice Cream Month!! Today I bring you what can only be described as a blend between a gelato and an ice cream — a perfect summer treat.
Sometimes, people hear I like to cook and they ask questions that I totally know the answer to. “What’s the difference between roasting and baking?” There isn’t one — but you wouldn’t roast a cake and you don’t bake a roast. BOOM, nailed it. Other times, I can figure out the answer to a question, like the time my cousin made her famous buttermilk pie on Thanksgiving in her new mother-in-law’s oven and it came out dried and burned — she was completely dejected until we figured out that the problem wasn’t her recipe, but the mother-in-law’s convection oven. I’m basicallyyyyy a culinary Sherlock Holmes.
But most of the time, I can’t solve cooking conundrums. People will hear I have a food blog and they’re all, “What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato?” And I just stand there and day dream about soft serve and anything sweet cream-flavored and then mutter something about eggs and custard. Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I met some new friends at the lake. As usual, the boys were inside, huddled around the TV watching a Sport (???) and the ladies were soaking up the sun in the backyard (though I was, technically, soaking up nothing more than an overdose of SPF because #pale). We ladies were talking about ice cream and gelato and we couldn’t decide which was healthier. Someone chimed in: “Gelato is denser but ice cream has more fat.” Amid my soft-serve daydream all I could say was, “Maybe?”
So I did a lil research. According to The Internet, gelato is made with less sugar and less fat. It’s denser than ice cream and, apparently, they are churned differently. And, usually, ice cream uses an egg custard base and gelato does not. But it’s a spectrum — some ice creams skip the custard and some (really decadent and amazing) gelatos use them. Apparently, gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream and there aren’t any real differences.
Po-tay-to/po-tahhhhh-to. The recipe I riffed on was called a gelato, but I used even less sugar than the recipe called for and I churned it in an ice cream maker. So it’s more gelato than gelato but also part ice cream. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious! I am still obsessed with my balsamic roasted berries, so I upped the sugar, roasted the berries, puréed them, threw in a little cream and churned it up. It was tart and sweet, with all the delicious creaminess of an ice cream and all the berry-ness of a true gelato. We had it with fresh whipped cream (so decadent) and again with slices of sweet summer peaches (so refreshing) and then, a few times, with a spoon straight out of the container with the freezer door open (so #coafg).
Sadly I still can’t answer the question of a difference between an ice cream and a gelato, but I’m happy to keep taste-testing all National Ice Cream Month-long!
- ½ lb. strawberries, cleaned
- ⅓ c. granulated sugar
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- ¾ c. water
- ¼ c. heavy whipping cream, chilled
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Rinse and quarter the strawberries and toss with the granulated sugar and vinegar.
- Arrange them in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet or cake pan.
- Let the strawberries cool and puree with water until smooth. In a large bowl, lightly whip the cream until it thickens up, just a bit (Marcella says until it's the consistency of buttermilk).
- Churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
- Even after a lot of churning, my gelato was still a little soupy so I poured it into a tupperware and froze it over night. It was fantastic with fresh summer peaches, with homemade whipped cream, and all by itself straight out of the container with the freezer door open.
P.S. — this is the ice cream maker I have and I love it! The bowl is filled with the same stuff that goes into ice packs so I just put the whole bowl in the freezer a day or two before I’m ready to churn the ice cream and I don’t have to worry about the ice and salt problems that haunted Samantha’s birthday party. Highly recommend!