Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vanilla-Coffee Gelato: No Ice Cream Maker Necessary!

I put this together last year when I had a brunch at my apartment and we didn't finish the huge pot of coffee I brewed. I couldn't bring myself to pour all that fresh-ground deliciousness down the sink, and I didn't have any blueberry bushes to pour it on then (now I do!), so I fell back on my favorite coffee ice cream.

I don't have an ice cream maker yet, though I hope to get one this summer. I also wanted to keep things reasonably light - not too sugary, not too rich - so I tried a freezer gelato and it worked out beautifully!

If you don't have a vanilla bean, then just use a teaspoon of vanilla extract, but I highly recommend obtaining a vanilla bean for this if you can. It makes a world of difference in the flavor, and the little specky vanilla seeds give the gelato a lot of character.


3 egg yolks (save the whites and scramble them up for breakfast later)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup milk
1 cup coffee (day-old and strong, if possible)
1/2 a vanilla bean

Bring a pot of water to a boil. In a non-plastic bowl that fits over the boiling water pot, combine egg yolks, brown sugar, and honey; beat well until bubbles form. Beat in the milk, then the coffee, until it's all well-combined. Split the half vanilla bean open lengthwise, then carefully scrape out the seeds into the mixture and drop the bean in too. Give it a good stir.

Set the bowl over the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until it thickens into a custard. Make sure you scrape the bottom as you stir! You don't want to cook the custard to the bowl. Once you've got your thick custard, remove the vanilla bean and pour the custard into a freezer-safe container and stick it in the freezer.

About every half hour or so, stir it up with a fork. It will take a few hours to freeze but you only need to stir it for a minute to break up the ice forming. When it's frozen, check to see if it's icy; if it is, break it up into chunks and dump them into the blender for a quick whirl. The blender will break up the ice and you can re-freeze it all you want after that without needing to blend it again. It'll stay nice and gelato-ey in the freezer now - if, of course, you don't gobble it up right away.

Which you will.

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