Somehow I just love to eat ice cream or gelato during wintertime! I can eat it all year long. It´s one of the most amazing desserts. Especially if I can have some homemade ice cream or gelato with the real vanilla bean. It´s quite hard to say no to that.
What is gelato and how is it different from ice cream? Look at my post for “Sugar-Free Vanilla Bean Gelato.” This recipe here is also inspired by the Italian cookbook “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. There was a recipe for “Egg Custard Gelato” (page 651) which had a lot of sugar, orange and an orange liqueur in it. Inspired by that recipe I created a gelato without refined sugar.
Vanilla Bean Gelato with Walnuts Caramel
- 6 egg yolks
- 100 g honey
- 500 ml milk
- 1 vanilla bean (vanilla pod or vanilla seeds or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste and some vanilla bean paste for serving when you feel like it)
- 3 tbsp vanilla extract (it´s good when the extract consist some alcohol because then the gelato doesn´t freeze too much)
- 50 g chopped walnuts
- Walnuts caramel: 4 tbsp maple syrup, 100 g chopped walnuts
- Beat the egg yolks with honey until they come pale yellow.
- Put the milk in a saucepan and open the vanilla pod and add the seeds and vanilla pod into the milk. Bring the milk to a slow simmer (low heat, don´t boil it, I have noticed that you should be able to put your finger in the milk). Remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
- Add about 4 tbsp of hot milk into the beaten yolk and mix it into yolks.*
- Then add another 4 tbsp of milk and mix it into the yolks. Keep adding the milk until you´re out of it. Mix until combined.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture and milk into the saucepan and turn the heat to (medium) low and keep stirring constantly (slowly but constantly) about 5 minutes and don´t let it boil!*
- When the mixture is ready, then add vanilla extract and stir it until combined.(It´s normal when you feel it´s too sweet. When it goes to ice cream, then you don´t feel it as sweet as a mixture, weird, right?).
- Put the mixture through the strainer and cover it with cling wrap.*** Let it cool down to room temperature and put it in a fridge for few hour (up to overnight).
- From that point, you have two opportunities. If you have an ice cream machine, then you should do as the ice cream maker says (every ice cream maker is different). When you don´t have an ice cream machine then look at the notes.***** However, the important thing is that when you pour the gelato mixture into the machine (before make sure that it´s already cold).
- Mix together 100 g chopped walnuts and maple syrup.
- Add 50 g chopped walnuts when the machine tells you to add it. When the machine has done its work, then put the gelato into the container and gently swirl in some maple syrup mixture.
- Keep it in an airtight container and enjoy it whenever you feel like it. But when it´s overnight or longer in a freezer, then it´s good to take it out of the freezer for 5-10 minutes before serving (or 20 minutes in a fridge). If you want you can serve it with a little bit of vanilla bean paste and nuts.
* Don´t use a mixer because you will get too much foam, just stir it in with a hand whisk or spoon until combined.
**You can test the mixture with a wooden spoon. The mixture is ready when it coats the spoon. It is important that you don´t let the mixture boil because it might go to curd (big clumps come to the mixture, like ricotta). If you´re gone have curd, then there´s almost nothing you can do. At least you can´t make gelato out of it. So, if you are afraid that your mixture goes to curd then you can use a water bath or just a really low heat.
*** Covering the custard (or gelato mixture) is one of the best tricks you can learn when you love custard. Have you noticed that when you make custard then there comes a skin on top when it cools down or stays in a fridge and then you have to remove it or there comes clumps inside? You´re just gone waste too much custard. You can prevent it with cling wrap! Put the cling wrap on top of the custard mixture. Not on top of the bowl! Press the cling wrap on top of the mixture until it touches the mixture. If you like, then you can spray the cling wrap before with a spraying oil and then you don´t even have to waste any custard (or gelato mixture).
***** Put the gelato in the freezer and stir it in every 15-30 minutes (about 3-4 times) until it´s like ice cream. Add the nuts when you´re gone stir it the last time. Put the mixture in the freezer for few hour and enjoy! Keep it in an airtight container and enjoy it whenever you feel like it. But when it´s overnight or longer in a freezer, then it´s good to take it out of the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving (or 20 minutes in a fridge).