Having tried out a number of different ice cream recipes, from basic vanilla, to rich chocolate, to fancy berry concoctions, I decided to have a look at doing a stracciatella. I have previously read about Stracciatella and how it is made but was surprised not to find it in my recipe book. Having tried a number of different recipes from the main book I use, I decided to give stracciatella a go. From what I understood, this gelato is produced by creating a vanilla base and in the last few minutes of churning, dribbling metled chocolate into the ice cream mixture. This ensures that the chocolate is never in particularly large lumps as it is broken up as it enters the ice cream mixture.
It is at this stage that I have realised why this recipe has potentially been left out of my recipe book. The process of dribbling the chocolate in is very messy. I found that large amounts of chocolate collected on the mixer paddles as they turned past my stream of chocolate meaning that I repeatedly had to stop the paddles to break the chocolate up. I am very fortunate to have an ice cream machine with a built-in compressor (i.e. I don’t have to pre-freeze a bowl). Were that not the case, I am not sure how confident I would be about this technique working.
Thankfully, despite the mess and faff, the ice cream turned out to be delicious – and was exactly what my wife (who had requested this flavour) had expected. Personally, as I was unsure of how this would turn out, I didn’t go all-out with the ingredients and used, for example, a cheaper cooking chocolate (still with a relatively high cocoa percentage) and it was noticeable in the flavour of the dessert. If I make this one again (which I expect to), I will be sure to buy a higher quality product (such as Green and Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate).
Should you also wish to make this dessert, the following should produce approximately 900ml ice cream.
Stir the milk and sugar together in a pan over a medium heat and add the vanilla pod. The milk needs to be heated until just about to boil (where small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan). Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes to an hour.
Re-heat the milk mixture until close to boiling again. In a mixing bowl, whisk the four yolks together. Slowly add half the milk mixture to the yolks, whisking all the time. Return the milk-yolk mixture to the saucepan and cook on a medium-low heat, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens (6-8 minutes).
Pour the cream into a large bowl and pour the custard through a sieve. The vanilla pod can be saved and used to make vanilla sugar (place the pod in a sealed jar with sugar in it and leave it for 4 weeks. as you use the sugar, top it back up again for a constant supply of vanilla sugar). Stir the custard into the cream and refrigerate the mixture, covered, until it is cold.
Put the custard mixture into your ice cream bowl and process in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate – either in a glass bowl over boiling water or in a microwave. During the last few minutes of churning, drizzle a very thin stream of the melted chocolate into the gelato.