Gelato vs. ice cream

Gelato and ice cream are very similar. Both are creamy, sugary, frozen goodness that we just can’t get enough of. Gelato is noticeably smoother in consistency than ice cream and, some may argue, tastier.

What’s the real difference between the two? In a nutshell, gelato acutally has a bit less fat than ice cream (shocker!) and about 25-30% less air. Gelato is also served at a slightly warmer temperature which only accentuates it’s velvety texture.

You might think you could adapt any old gelato recipe and use your standard ice cream maker to get the same results you get in a gelateria. The answer is a firm and resound “No.” Gelato needs to be mixed at a slower speed than traditional makers to avoid trapping that extra air that ice cream has.

Unless you churn by hand or have a variable speed ice cream maker, you’re going to have to stump up the money to buy a dedicated machine. Here are a few you might be interested in:

Expensive: Nemox Ice Gelatissimo – £520
Mid-range: Philips Gaggia RI9101/08 Gelatiera Ice Cream Maker – £294.47
Affordable: Tefal Gelato Ice Cream Maker – £49.99

To serve as inspiration, here’s a recipe for Nutella gelato from FoodNetwork.co.uk. Enjoy!
500ml whole milk
250ml double cream
100g sugar, plus 50g
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g Nutella

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 100g sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 120ml of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and Nutella until it dissolves.

Chill mixture completely before pouring into a gelato maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze.

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