INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT

INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT

By
Lisa Valmorbida
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781743793367

Ingredients

Carob bean powder

This is used as a natural thickener, which improves the texture of the gelato by helping it absorb the water content in the recipe.

Chocolate

When we use chocolate in our gelatomaking we look to use a good-quality one with a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa solids. We get ours from local maker Huntered + Gathered, who make their chocolate in small quantities and carefully source their cocoa beans. They make a few varieties, however, we use the Dominican Republic variety for its rich, almost nutty flavour.

Cocoa powder

We never use cocoa powder that has sugar added to it, as most of those stocked in the supermarkets do. Good-quality ones can be found at specialty food stores and include brands such as Valrhona and Callebaut.

Cream

We use pouring (single/light) cream with a fat content of 35 per cent.

Dextrose

Dextrose is 92 per cent as sweet as cane sugar and is used as a secondary sugar to help with a gelato’s sweetness, freezing point and texture. Getting the mixture of sugars right in gelato-making is a key part of the process – for good sweetness levels, hardness and density you don’t want to add more than 20–30 per cent of secondary sugars.

Eggs

We always use free-range organic eggs, for ethical and flavour reasons (put simply, they taste better). As we don’t use egg as an emulsifier in our gelato, it’s only used when we want to taste it, therefore it’s important that the eggs we use are the freshest and best quality we can lay our hands on.

Hazelnut and pistachio pastes

I prefer to use nut pastes in my gelatos over grinding the nuts myself because the industrial machines used are able to grind them finely enough to extract all the oils and flavours and ensure you don’t get a grainy texture, resulting in a better product than I can make myself. Nut pastes can be hard to find, so I suggest ordering them online or try specialty food stores – look for varieties that are 100 per cent hazelnut or pistachio nut and preferably from the Piedmont (for hazelnuts) or Bronte (for pistachio nuts) regions of Italy, as these nuts have the best flavour. If you want to add extra nutty texture to your gelatos, you can add roasted crushed nuts to the final product.

Milk

We use full-cream homogenised jersey milk when making gelato because of its high protein levels – higher than other types of milk – as these proteins help to trap air during the gelato-making process, ensuring the gelato doesn’t shrink and making it as creamy as possible. It’s important that the milk is homogenised because you want the particles to be fully broken down so the water content can be absorbed properly when adding the other ingredients. We also prefer that the milk is organic with a fat content of 3.5 per cent. If you can’t find jersey milk, ordinary full-cream milk is fine too.

Vanilla paste

We use good-quality vanilla paste and suggest you do the same. Check the label when purchasing to make sure that your vanilla paste is pure and not made from any synthetic ingredients.

Water

We prefer filtered, pure, still water to make our gelatos, but if you’re happy drinking your tap water then you can, of course, use this.

Equipment

Gelato/ice cream machine

Gelato and ice cream machines come in all shapes, sizes and types, but for our purposes we recommend using those machines that have the freezing compartment built in. Your aim when making gelato is to freeze the mixture as fast as possible to lessen the ice crystals. Those machines that lack a freezing compartment – where the canister is frozen before use – take at least twice as long to freeze the gelato and will leave you with an icier product. As a general rule of thumb, the more you spend on a machine, the better your end product will be. In the store I use a commercial Carpigiani machine, one of the best brands. While they do make a countertop machine, it’s very expensive – I trialled all my recipes for this book using a regular Cuisinart gelato maker and the results were fine.

Gelato scoops

Metal scoopers are always best and I often dip them in hot water before using them to get a perfectly smooth ball. We use flat pallet scoopers in store, however these require a bit of getting used to, so aren’t recommended unless you are planning on putting in the time to master this skill!

Metal trays

We use metal trays to make our granitas because they get colder quicker, giving you a perfect icy product with the right consistency.

Scales

As you need to be exact when measuring ingredients for gelato recipes – particularly small quantities of thickeners and emulsifiers such as carob bean powder and guar gum – it is important to use an accurate electronic scale. Gelato recipes are all about getting the balance right between the fats, sugars and solid ingredients added, and if you’re not exact you can throw off the whole recipe and end up with a different product. This is why all the ingredients in our recipes are measured in grams rather than millilitres or cups.

Serving note

You can eat your gelato soft, straight from the machine or, if you prefer a firmer gelato, it will need longer in the freezer and may need to be left out to soften a little before serving. The temperature of your freezer will determine the length of time that you need to leave the gelato out – the perfect serving temperature is about -8°C (18°F). The warmer you serve your gelato, the more flavour you will have – this is a big reason we use the pozzetti system in store because it allows you to serve your gelato at a warmer temperature.

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