Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lemon Mascarpone Gelato with Strawberries

This recipe hit my inbox from Sur La Table and I was instantly intrigued. I love lemon, strawberries and mascarpone cheese.  A combination of all three?  Yes, I had to make it! So glad I did, the gelato is wonderful! It's got the taste of a rich strawberry ice cream with a hint of lemon cheesecake.

I'm not quite sure why this is called a gelato.  Supposedly, gelato uses more milk to cream ratio than traditional ice cream, so has less fat, and little to no eggs.  This recipe has plenty of cream and eggs. Gelato means ice cream in Italian so I guess it's all the same thing no matter what!

The recipe seems "fussy" when reading the instructions but it's really very easy; just a few steps (and a few bowls and pans to wash!) To quickly cool the ice cream mixture an ice bath method is used. If you're not familiar with this, it's basically a large bowl with ice and cold water in it.  The container of food is placed in the bowl and stirred frequently.  The icy water surrounding the container chills foods in no time.

Lemon Mascapone Gelato with Strawberries

2 cups strawberries, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups half and half
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Cook until strawberries have softened and juices have thickened to a syrup-like consistency, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator until needed.

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl; set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine half and half, cream, sugar, lemon zest, and salt.  Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.  When the liquid is simmering, remove the saucepan from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, combine the egg yolks and vanilla.  While whisking constantly, slowly add 1/3 of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to thoroughly combine.  Once incorporated, transfer liquid back into saucepan and place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat.  Using a silicone spatula and scraping the bottom as your stir, heat the mixture until it thickens and reaches 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. (Do not allow the mixture to boil or the eggs will scramble.)

Remove the saucepan from the stove, still stirring constantly and pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Whisk mascarpone into the warm custard and place bowl in prepared water bath, stir occasionally until cold.  When chilled, whisk fresh lemon juice and strawberry compote into the cold custard.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer gelato to chilled container.  Freeze for about 2 hours or until gelato is firm enough to scoop.

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