I’m told that I have something of an obsessive personality, although I really prefer the adjective, ‘enthusiastic’.
Take summer dishes: This year I’m only really eating three dishes, and all three of them nearly everyday. The only one that is not part of my normal summer repertoire is this new, lightened form of apricot gelato that I recently came up with based on not wanting to keep 10 egg yolks around all the time.
And, to be honest, the fear of a yellowing heart just out in front of such a round-numbered birthday.
If a death battalion of black-slippered ninjas were to attack my place at 4 am, there is a good chance they’d find me barefoot and maybe even naked, eating ice cream straight from the ice cream maker, the fridge door propped open for no other reason other that it feels good. I even keep the gelato paddle right next to it in the freezer. It’s not pretty to watch, I’m sure, but that might explain why it happens so late at night.
There are only two fixed rules when making gelato. 1) Everything will need to be colder than you think: Freeze everything: your machine for at least 24 hours; your firming receptacle; your serving bowls, even the spoons. The only real problem you’ll likely ever have with a frozen desert is just that, that it wasn’t frozen enough. Should that happen, keep it to yourself and just call it something else. Even mistakes are great, just not ‘gelato’. When mistakes do happen, regroup and re-examine the rule in making gelato: make sure everything is colder than you think necessary.
Also, the same science behind enamelware’s strength in holding out to heat is also true for its ability to hold onto cold. French enamelware makes great chilling vessels. Providing, of course, you followed the first rule in making gelato.
And, 2) sweetness is harder for our tongues to pick up when things are chilled. Gelato is not the place to skimp on sweetness.
The marmalade might stand out as a cheater’s step but it’s not, not really. Both the flavour and texture of your gelato (due to the pectin) will be improved significantly. Most of the really intensely-flavoured gelati in Italy have shenanigans going on in them (powders, potions and packages), somewhere along the way during their production. If your own homemade ice cream has ever underwhelmed you, that’s why.
A kilo of ripe apricots. 200 grams of sugar. 200 grams of apricot marmalade. 1/3 litre fresh cream. 1/3 litre fresh milk. Pince of salt.
Wash the fruit well, cut up into tiny dice, the smaller, the more intense the flavour. Or toss into food processor, minus stems and stones (No real need to remove the skins, as you’ll see below).
Place fruit in the bottom of large saucier and toss with the sugar, leave for half an hour to macerate. Add the rest of the ingredients (the apricot marmalade, a pinch of salt, the milk and cream).
Bring to a boil and turn off the flame. When cool, pass through a sieve. Move to chilled refrigerator receptacle. Chill 4 hours or more. Run through machine for half an hour or until it stops on its own. Move to frozen receptacle and allow to firm for two hours. Serve in chilled serving bowls.
If you’re feeling like a fancy-pants, you can also roast some apricots until they become concentrated and sticky and chill those too. A little drizzled vincotto is also excellent.
But try out this recipe and shoot me an email with the results. I bet you like it. I bet you eat it often. I bet it’s the thing you’ll be eating when your eyes begin to dart about the ceiling at the slightest thump in the night, awaiting the soft-footed ninjas, your lips glossy with sweety-creamy- goodness.