Borrowing a phrase from Candy, the "ice cream mavens" know that I've been on a quest for the perfect gelato. In general, gelato distinguishes itself from ice cream in these ways: less butterfat; less air; more intense, pure flavor. Gelato is also served at a slightly warmer temp. than ice cream. Both are delicious, really, but I wanted to experiment w/ using whole milk instead of half and half or heavy cream.
So I made the coffee gelato pictured below. The texture was just right after about 2 hrs. in the freezer and some time out to warm up. For those of you sluggish from the summer heat and humidity, perhaps you'd prefer to wake up to this in the AM instead of hot coffee. ;-)
What I used: 3 c. whole milk from TJ's (pasteurized but not homogenized); 3 egg yolks (from extra large eggs); 1/2 c. sugar; 2 TB espresso powder; 1 tsp. cocoa powder; few drops almond extract; kosher salt to taste. The base was simmered very low on the stove, and w/ all the past recipes that have been posted, I won't bother talking about the standard method I used.
Result: Smooth texture but not as creamy and "full in the mouth" as I like. Not too airy b/c I chilled the base overnight and it only took 5 min. to churn. Flavor wasn't great though. It reminded me of a fudgesicle. I should have used more espresso powder and a little more sugar. I used Medaglia del Oro (sp?) espresso powder but wish I had brewed some good strong coffee instead. My strong Vietnamese coffee might have been nice here.
So my quest for the perfect gelato/ice cream continues, and what I've learned along the way:
1. Whole milk alone is not rich or flavorful enough for me. It's just too "flat"; more butterfat rounds out the flavor. Will use half and half solely or some combo of whole milk and cream.
2. One yolk per one cup of dairy seems to be ideal for me.
3. Chilling overnight does wonders to reduce churning time. What used to take 25 min. to churn, now takes about 5-7 min.
4. Cooked custards have more body and depth of flavor IMO.
5. Vanilla bean is still my favorite homemade flavor.
6. Many gelati actually contain both milk and cream, sometimes egg yolks. Doesn't matter if it's called gelato or ice cream, as long as it's delicious.
I'll let you know when I find "the one." Any feedback is appreciated.