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Gianduia Gelato

From Italian Cooking and Living, June/July 2005

Gianduia is a smooth and creamy combination of chocolate and hazelnuts that originated in Piedmont. At Mio Gelato, in Portland, Oregon, Executive Chef and Owner Bob Lightman toasts the hazelnuts first to add extra complexity to the gianduia flavor.

  • 2 cups shelled hazelnuts
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • mint leaves for garnish
  • raspberries for garnish

    Special tools: food processor/instant thermometer/ice cream maker

    Preheat the oven to 375. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Transfer to a food processor, reserving several for garnish, and coarsely grind. (Do not over process.) In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and the heavy cream, and bring to a simmer (it should read 165 on a thermometer). Stir in the ground hazelnuts. Remove from the heat, and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.

    Strain the mixture through a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Press the mixture firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the liquid. Return the hazelnut milk to a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a gentle simmer.

    In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, vanilla extract, sugar and salt. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and a pale yellow color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the hot hazelnut milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

    Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly heat, stirring, until the custard thickens. (It should read 180 to 185 on a thermometer.)

    Remove from the heat, and add the chopped chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is thoroughly melted into the custard. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 4 hours.

    Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker, and freeze as directed by the manufacturer's instructions. If you prefer a firmer gelato, freeze for 1 hour before serving. To serve, place several scoops of the gelato on a plate, and garnish with mint leaves, raspberries and the reserved hazelnuts.

    Copyright © 2006, Italian Cooking and Living. All rights reserved.

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