Sicilian gelato-style ice cream
While Italy probably is best known for the type of gelato broadly described in the post on Italian Style ice cream-making, the country has several regional variations. Using starch as the main stabiliser in ice cream has a very long tradition, not only in the Orient but also in Southern Italy (remember Sicily’s long-standing historical influences from the Arab world? In this case, also Spanish influence is believed to have played a role). In the south, the particular ice cream base, known as crema rinforzata, consists of milk, sugar and corn starch.
Sicilian gelato typically does not use eggs or cream – the emphasis is on milk, stabilised by corn starch. Just like eggs and other stabilisers, corn starch will soak up water and prevent crystallisation, improving texture and body of the ice cream. Since corn starch is quite a neutral stabiliser, any flavours used tend to come through very clearly.
What kind of starch to use
While there will be a lot of mentioning of corn starch here, any similar starch should work as well (such as rice starch, potato starch flour, soy starch, instant tapioca etcetera). I am personally very fond of using Arrowroot – in all respects an excellent, neutral stabiliser starch, which tends to make dairy thicken in a rather ‘slimy’ way. This makes for a strange sensation (which I personally like a lot!), but once the ice cream has frozen, this particular characteristic tends to go away … at least until the melting sets in 😉 Unlike corn starch, Arrowroot will put a certain gloss to the surface of the ice cream, and there is no risk of any residual starchy-floury flavour.
UPDATE: Go here for detailed instructions on Sicilian gelato made with Arrowroot, exemplified with a delicious Orange blossom ice cream!
Making starch-stabilised ice cream can be a splendid option for anyone wishing to make smooth “European style” ice cream but prefer to avoid eggs, or the potential pitfalls of preparing a custard base, that generally characterise these types.
Mark Bittman wrote an article in the New York Times a few years ago which raised awareness of, and praised the virtues of corn starch ice cream. Being very fond of this base myself, I find it quite strange that corn starch-ice cream on the whole, however, tend to be so side-lined by the other traditions (American style, Italian-French style) when base recipes are discussed. This is certainly a very deserving and versatile base recipe, which ought to be tested by all ice cream lovers. (update: Since the first publication of this post, the proud starch-tradition has received more attention, not least because of the growing popularity of Jeni’s Splendid ice creams).
Sicilian gelato-style ice cream
- 700 ml (about 3 cups whole milk) OR 350 ml (1.5 cups) cream and 350 ml (1.5 cups) milk)
- 125 ml (a full 1/2 cup) sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons of corn starch
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- Whisk together 200 ml (about 0.8 cup) of the cold milk with the corn starch, making sure that there are no remaining lumps. Set aside for now.
- Blend the remaining 500 ml (about 2.1 cup) of the milk/cream, the sugar, the salt and vanilla bean (with seeds scraped out and added) in a sauce pan. Warm until steaming hot (not boiling!) on medium heat.
- Blend the corn starch mixture with the rest of the ingredients in the sauce pan. While barely reaching a boil, cook and stir for about four- five minutes, or until the mixture has begun to thicken and any possible "floury" taste (from the starch) has disappeared [and don't overcook: that would reduce the thickening powers of the starch].
- Take the ice cream base from the heat and let the mixture cool down.
- Refrigerate for a couple of hours, discard the vanilla bean, and freeze according to the instructions of your ice cream machine.
- In case you have no ice cream machine, still-freeze the base in your freezer (see the link below the box!) - this base is perfect for still-freezing, by the way!
- After the churning, place the ice cream in a freezer-safe container, cover with plastic film and a lid, and store in the freezer.
And yes – you can do also do it without an ice cream machine! Still-freeze the ice cream as described here. Actually, it is worth mentioning that this particular base is perfect for still-freezing – the results are usually very smooth, scoopable and just like a good ice cream should be!
Adding flavours and add-ins to the base recipe – good examples to check out!
The base recipe is a very good base for most flavours, but do check out these illustrative and well-received recipes for extra guidance: Chocolate and hemp seed ice cream, Imperial Roman ice cream, Cardamom-Cinnamon ice cream, and Saffron Raisin ice cream. They all contain different flavours and add-ins, and should give you good ideas when experimenting! And do not forget to check out the variety that uses Arrowroot instead of corn starch, exemplified by delightful Orange blossom ice cream!
In case you want to check out all the recipes made with this base, search for (or use the ‘tag cloud’ on the bottom of the page) “ice cream with starch” – that should bring up all the relevant recipes.
Great post Anders, thank you!
Thank you Mike!
Fantastic info thanks Anders.
Would it be possible for you to advise of ratios for mixing in flavors to this base.
It depends a bit on the flavour(s), the types of add-ins and your personal taste. For some practical guidance, I would suggest that you check out the other recipes on the site where you can see some of the variations: To name a few which you might find particularly useful because they contain more add-ins than “just” some spices, do check out the chocolate & hemp seed recipe!, or the Roman-style recipe with nuts and fruit [update: these recipes have now been referred to directly in the posting]. By using the tag cloud or the search-field on this site, you should also be able to find some other recipes (searching for “ice cream with starch” should do the trick:) . And best of luck!
really thanks for all this info, your site is really clear. i’ve been looking around for a recipe that yields the softness of egg base without the heaviness of all the cream and yolks (personal repulsion, actually stopped making ice cream at home after all the batches I threw out!, really dont like frozen custard…)
this seems to me like a perfect balance, i just made a batch but I had a question regarding the way to cool the base, as it makes like ‘skin’ on top due to the cornstarch. I put wax paper in contact with the base to stop making this skin, but the questions are: does this skin make any difference to the final product? and if yes, is it ‘bad’ to cover the base while cooling (looks in water maybe?).
thanking you for your expert advice!
The ‘skin’ that sometimes may form during the cooling/chilling phase is not really a problem. You may simply whisk the base a little before churning and it will disappear (and even if you don’t, you’re unlikely to notice any remains of it in the final ice cream anyway:-) .
Great, thanks for you answer, everyone LOVED the ice cream, really. I made a chocolate one with chocolate bits in it, it was wonderful. but the texture was not as chewy as I imagined, maybe I do need an ice cream maker after all!
Amei todas as informações desta pagina, estou entrando agora na fabricação de sorvetes caseiros. Moro no Brasil.
[Loved all the information in this page, I will now start making home-made ice cream. I live in Brazil.]
I tried your recipe for Sicilian gelato today, but it produced cold semolina!
Fascinating! I’ve used that recipe myself so many times and never did I come close to making semolina 😉 . Seriously, it is difficult to know exactly what happened in your kitchen, but since that recipe is well and truly tested, something obviously seems to have gone wrong. Did you possibly overdose the starch? Or might it be that you simply don’t like this particular ice cream base?
I used just three tablespoons of corn flour, deliberately not over egging it. Next time I shall apply just two spoonfuls. I not chucking it yet.
Alan, that’s the right experimental spirit! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it works out better next time 🙂
Just one extra thought: When you say it turned out like semolina (thus somewhat ‘granular’ in texture, I presume?), I would just like to exclude the possibility that you might have been using cornmeal instead of corn starch (the latter is a flour, not a starch. To add to the confusion, however, it is apparently sometimes marketed as ‘cornstarch’ in certain countries). Myself, I usually rely on the Maizena-brand for this ice cream base.
I’m not an ice cream making expert but I might be just about to sound like one!
I have just made this recipie and mine also turned out like semolina and I think I know why! It’s got nothing to do with the corn flour (starch), its because we (Alan and I) uses milk and cream.. the granularity is actually butter!
One if the reasons for using eggs in ice cream is to avoid the cream turning into butter… they act as an emulsifying agent.
I have just made another batch using only milk (and bit more corn flour) and its smooth as silk 🙂
Please let Alan know, I’m feeling his pain, I often try thing that seem to work for everyone else but don’t work for me!
Huw, I don´t think it is the mixture of milk and cream that caused it to be grainy.
I normally make ice cream using single cream, sugar, golden syrup, the seeds from two cardomom pods and a pinch of salt.
One time the single cream I normally buy was not available so I chose another (Puleva).
I made a batch in the usual way but I noticed that it seemed a bit thicker as I heated the mixture to melt the sugars. The churning was also completed quicker than normal.
The finished taste was similar but better, smoother and it would scoop straight from the freezer.
I checked the carton of cream and found that it had cornflour already added since it was meant for making cooking sauces.
So now I am back to making gelato but with cream instead of milk!
Hi Mark, so my original thoughts were that it was the absents of the egg along with the inclusion of cream that lead to the granularity, the granularity being fine butter. so if you add the egg or remove the cream you will remove the granularity. however, since my original post i have identified another parameter to throw in the mix! i was using a very old Gelatoboy 800 ice cream machine. i have since upgraded to a Cuisinart ICE-100, possibly the best home machine on the market (we can argue about the Brevel’s smart scoop in a different thread). using the new machine, the granularity in cream heavy bases without an emulsifier is considerably less. still just detectable but you really have to look for it (also dosent store as well). so my point is that the machine or ‘butter churn’ also plays a part. i wonder which machine Alan was using??
I agree with Huw’s butter hypothesis for causing granularity.
Usually I make this gelato and it turns out lovely each time (Thanks, Anders!!). In the past I have played with Arrowroot, Australian cornflour, and different milk/cream ratios – I quite like 700ml milk + 350ml cream myself. All turn out well.
Same ingredients and quantities as before, but it turned out grainy in texture today. Reason being that it was over-churned.
Usually we churn it until it’s thick like soft-serve and then pop it into the freezer to harden. This time I accidently went way past soft-serve consistency.
Lesson I learnt: Don’t overchurn or it turns out grainy!
Kids still like it though 🙂
I have made this style of icecream twice now. The first time I used a chocolate/coffee flavouring ( basically 1/4 cup of cocoa and a shot of strong expresso) with the base described above – and the second time I used a rather “weird” Indian almond syrup which has pepper in it.
I used the above base recipe for both – but used on 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. I might tey reducing the amount of cornstarch to only 2 TBS next time as I felt that the base became just a little too thick when cooling down before churning in an ice cream machine.
The results is a very smooth icecream that does not melt too quickly (as I have found Philadelphia style to do). Howver I think my freezer compartment must be a bit too cold as after a day or so the icecream becomes very hard. Just “hard” not icy.
This is a great website
You are adding a significant amount of water when you add syrup or espresso, which could make your ice cream too hard. You might try espresso powder next time.
As full cream milk without added cream is 87% water, I would be surprised if water is the issue. You could add cream or dried skimmed milk powder (milk protein and milk sugar) to give it a creamier, but slightly heavier, texture. Like yours, my ice cream will get hard if I leave it in the freezer, so we eat it straight away.
Some Scottish-Italian shops serve it direct from rotating freezer cylinders to keep it soft. This is because factory added stabilisers and emulsifiers are not used to preserve the texture and stop it crystallising – they spoil the taste.
Next time you make gelat add 35 g of dextrose it as only% of the sweetnees and but has allso the ability of being able to reduse the freezing point by nearly two times and make your gelato softer and less sweet
BTW — I have only made this base using cream and milk — I am wondering how it would turn out with just milk ? I notice that you have these two options in the recipe — is there a reason for this? Of course, the cream option increases the calories of the product — we all eat too many calories so perhaps the all milk option would be good?
Barry, glad to hear about your positive experiences!
The two options basically comes down to a matter of personal taste (and also, as you correctly point out, calories 😉 ). Some like their ice creams creamier, others prefer a ‘milkier’ approach. If you go for mainly milk, however, you should increase the amount of starch in order to compensate for the lesser amount of (consistency-improving) fat in the ice cream. And milk-only ice cream can be very good (a stellar example is the
French glace plombiėres. That recipe is stabilised by egg yolk but should work also with starch).
I just returned from Italy. I fell in love with Gelato. I ate it on every corner and asked every shop how it was made. They all said they don’t use cream, just milk. They said the cream takes away from the flavors.. I noticed the coconut Gelato was pure white, so it seems to me they did not use egg yolks. Im going to try the starch recipe.
Sounds like you had a truly great ice-cream time in Italy 🙂
I, too, adore gelato and while the different traditions all tend to be “slimmer” than French or American-style ice creams (= using proportionately more milk than cream), there is actually quite a lot of diversity when it comes actual preparations. I’d guess that most contain egg yolks but the venerable Sicilian tradition you mention uses starch instead. Good luck in finding The Perfect Recipe just for you!
I left out the cream, just used milk, and I have made coconut, lemon, chocolate, and now raspberry. No failures, all just as I remember in Italy. Thank you, thank you. I’M ADDICTED !!
Jill – thanks, and so glad it works so well for you 😀
Corn flour is the name for corn starch here in the UK. It is of fine smooth texture, so should be alright if I do not over do the quantity. I intend omitting the double cream next time and just use straight whole milk.. All fingers crossed, I shall crack this yet.
I use Bird’s custard powder which includes some flavouring, so I don’t add any other favouring. It is light and melts in the mouth so easily.
Hello Brian F 🙂
Could you let us know your complete recipe and method please? I like the sound of using Birds.
Because I just make smaller quantities for one or two, it’s hit and miss getting the temperatures and hardness right. I’m still experimenting and every time is different. My basic recipe was:
DeLonghi (700ml) ice cream maker about -21degC.
Make thin custard by mixing ingredients cold and then heating to simmer:
300ml milk, 35gm sugar (4 tsp), and 9gm (1.5 rounded tsp) custard powder.
Add two ice cubes to partially cool custard. Whisk and then pour warm custard into ice cream maker and hope for the best. If getting too hard and paddle jams, add some whiskey. If not frozen, let melt and start again – sorry. Good luck and have a happy new year!
(Bird’s custard powder is mainly cornflour/starch plus flavouring)
I should have mentioned that I use whole milk. I’ve also tried adding:
– Dried milk powder (basically milk protein).
– Icing sugar mixed with castor sugar
– “Instant Whip” dessert powder
– Frozen crushed raspberries
– Vanilla and other essences
I’ve never tried keeping it, and suspect it would recrystallise. Once I took the ice cream maker and custard to a party and made it during the meal – for serving afterwards. Good Luck.
Thanks Brian for taking the time to reply so fully. So, full milk only and no cream, okay. Now, as to adding ice cubes, wow! I would have thought that to be a no-no as water is something we always want to avoid in ice cream, so that surprised me. But I most certainly could be mistaken on that issue. There’s only me and me dog at home, so a smaller amount of delicious ice cream is made to measure. Thanks again Brian and I shall definitely try your recipe. Happy 2016 to you and may all your ice cream wishes come true 🙂
My mixture is quite a lean one, as I’m cutting my fat and sugar intake (rechecking my data, 35gm sugar should be 5 rounded teaspoons). So it’s quite OK to increase it if you want. Happy New Year everyone.
My freezer is set at -18 degrees Centigrade, which is ideal for foodstuffs, but far too cold for ice cream. Accordingly, I put my newly churned ice cream into small tubs and then transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator about an hour before I intend consuming the ice cream, thus enabling it to thaw a tad.
Yes – that is certainly my problem. I will try putting the newly churned ice cream into smaller containers . Trouble is there are only two of us — and using Anders’ recipe, I approximate there are around 7000KJ in the cup of cream plus cup of milk plus cup of sugar – so we limit ourselves by saying the icecream made must do 8 serves. One serve is actually quite small – and we can only eat 2 serves between us at any one time 🙁
I have been working all day in the garden, there will be strawberries by the end of the month to have with the ices. I am using 250ml or 10oz small round tubs, being round there is less wastage. I consider the quantity within a tub to sufficient for one portion, albeit a generous one. I am on my own and can do justice to a tub full, and, I find visitors have no problems.
I will try that — we always are getting foodstuffs in small 250 ml plastic containers. I would never have thought of putting the home made icecream into them.
Recently I made a Philadelphia style icecream with a couple of punnets of fresh strawberries. I have never eaten strawberry icecream like it — it was nothing like so-called strawberry icecream from the stores.
What is Philadelphia style ice cream? Please exscuse my ignorance.
Philadelphia style ice cream is another term for what also is known as American style ice cream. You can find a recipe for strawberry ice cream made in this way here.
Thank you Anders, I’ve just referred to your recipe and must try making it. Never too old to learn and I’m pushing 80.
Anders — yes, that was the one I made. Delicious. But the cream to milk ratio is 2:1 – so it is high calorie. I am not sure that I can tell the difference between this Sicilian Gelato style and the American style — but I think it is probably more healthy for me 🙂 I think I will continue with this style for a while – the mango ginger flavour that you have just published sounds good so I will try to adapt it to this style.
A vital technical question – in your recipe, should tablespoonfuls be heaped or level? This can obviously make such a bif difference to finished product.
Great to hear about your endeavours, and you are indeed so right: One is never too old to learn 🙂
The tablespoons should be levelled, but as you see, there is a certain margin of discretion when it comes to the exact amount of starch (if you, for instance, go for milk-only and do not add any other ‘solidifying’ ingredients to the ice cream base, you should probably consider adding even some more starch). In my experience, the most important factor is usually to disperse the starch well in some cold dairy before adding it to the rest of the ice cream base (in order to avoid any lumps). Then, keep the base close to a boil just long enough for any ‘starch flavour’ to disappear (and, of course, for the ice cream base to begin to thicken). It might be good to know that once the ice cream base is taken from the heat and cooled/chilled down, it will actually continue to thicken even further – which normally only makes for a nice, smooth final ice cream.
Thank you Anders, just what I needed to know.I shall give you a status report later in the week after I have bought some fresh milk. Sorry about the ‘bif’, my fingers are a bit too large for this mobile ‘phone key-board.
Hello, I intend to make this but I’m really confused about the corn starch on the ingredients. I have read that here in the UK corn starch is known as corn flour but I’ve been reading comments above and in particular this comment and the conversation that follows : /from Alan/
“I tried your recipe for Sicilian gelato today, but it produced cold semolina!”
I have seen in supermarkets something called corn flour. I purchased it and it was a very fine white powder and the box suggested it be used to thicken soups and gravy. Is this the stuff I need?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Keith – since you’re in the UK, corn starch would typically be sold as “corn flour”, so you should be fine!
Ok thanks for the info. How would I make a chocolate flavour and a fig & mascarpone flavour? I can’t wait to try it.
Buon giorno Anders,
I now have a fine gelato di Siciliano. I modified the recipe thus –
400ml whole milk.
300ml double cream, because that was the size of the tub and “waste not want not”
125mg caster sugar.
1 level tablespoon cornflour.
1 pinch of salt.
3 teaspoons vanilla extract, the good stuff.
I applied all the ingredients according to your method and the result is a very fine ice indeed. I could taste the salt, although I only used a smidgen, so next I shall omit it. One level tablespoon of cornflour was quite adequate. I like my ices to be straight and am not keen in having bits and pieces in them, but I shall try replacing the sugar with different types of honey.
If Keith refers to ‘Larouse Gastronomique’, under the entry for ‘Maize’ it states cornflour and then in brackets after – corn starch; so it is the same substence, just different nomenclature for wherever you are. Status report ends.
Thanks for the status report, and great to hear that your Sicilian gelato worked out nicely in the end: Clearly, perseverance is the key to success 🙂
Keith – the reason I finished up with ‘cold semolina’ was because with any cookery recipe, unless it states level spoonfuls then I will automatically assume heaped spoons. In this particular case I measured out three heaped tablespoons, which would be somewhere near six level spoons, so I was well and truly over Anders’ specified quantities. Brown & Polson is the regular brand of cornflour, although you may have to be content with supermarket own brand.
You’re going about your recipes the wrong way. Unless a recipe specifies heaped spoonfuls then you should always use level them off. That is the only way to get an accurate measurement.
Julianne, I’m happy to clarify that all recipes on the site already build on the assumption that any spoon-measurements indeed should be leveled off unless otherwise specified 🙂
i recently bought an ice cream machine and wanted to try out this base with fruits to make some traditional Italian ice cream, i made the ice cream with an blood orange puree but there was not vibrant color like ive seen on your other recipes any ideas why this may have been. ps i used 4 cups blood orange made in a one cup sugar and one cup water syrup strained and added to the gelato base mix.
I think that Barry (in the comment below) has a good point.
Additionally, when talking visuals, one of the characteristics of cornstarch is that it typically gives a matte finish to the ice creams.
If you want to highlight the colour of a fruit purée and avoid the risk of having it ‘disappear’ into the base, you might consider to ripple in into the (almost) ready-churned ice cream: that way, it will stand out much better.
thanks for your response yeah just dont understand when i saw gelato in italy (rome) it was extremely colorful and was wondering will rippling it in get that effect
Your 4 cups of Blood Orange juice plus the cup of simple sugar syrup would have made a very nice sorbet – but as soon as you mix it with 3 cups of cream/milk, it would lose much of its’ colour, but probably would still have tasted nice?
yes it still tasted very nice
I recently visited a small store here in Australia which said that it made “genuine Italian Gelato”. It was VERY good and it appeared to me that it had genuinely been made on-site in small batches of many flavours. I took a very quick peek out the back of the store and I could see churning equipment and what appeared to be plastic tubs of premixed ingredients of some kind. They said that they “cooked” the milk base and then cooled it for 10 hours before making the Gelato — which sounds very similar to what we do with this recipe. However I am intrigued about the apparent pre-mixes that I think I saw. Have you ever heard of such a thing??
AHA!!! This is exactly what I saw http://www.pregelamerica.com/en/resources/faq.asp
It seems that you found the answer yourself 🙂
And yes, it has become more and more common (even in Italy) for ice cream parlours to use commercially available so-called flavour pastes and ready-made ice cream mixes.
Since this practise brings the ice cream production one step (or more) ‘closer to the factory rather than to the farm’, most ice cream-purists frown upon the use of such ingredients (even more so if the resulting ice cream is marketed as “all-natural/artisanal” etcetera). This instructive article discuss the situation in Rome, and also gives some helpful hints about how to spot “fake-natural” gelato.
That link helps also to explain Simon’s question re the vibrant coloured gelato that he has seen. It also explains why my all natural pear sorbet, which tastes delicious, looks so dull and boring!!
I made another of these today – I have been using a 50/50 mix of 35% fat cream and 4% fat milk, making a gelato of approx 20%fat content. It has been a bit too rich – and at that fat content, I can’t really allow myself to eat too much. So today I made this using 4%fat milk only (flavoured by a couple of tablespoons each of drinking chocolate powder and cocoa and a couple of tablespoons of Butterscotch Schnapps).
It was very tasty – but had a slight “graininess ” about it – not from ice crystals, but possibly from the cornflour.
I think I need to make the next one to get a fat % of maybe around 10%
All good fun
The cocoa may be your culprit, it is rather a coarse substance as powders go. Says he, having just drunk his bedtime mug of cocoa.
You might be right — but I am also thinking that what I made was just a little too “low fat” Have a look at this great “Butterfat calculator.http://www.icecreamgeek.com/?page_id=817 Basically I used 2 cups of milk at 3.5% and one cup of yoghurt . But I have come to realise that the yoghurt was zero fat – so plugging those details into the calculator means that I made a 2.8% fat ice cream/gelato. It is tasty – but a bit too low fat. Combine that with the cocoa and this may be my “problem” The next one I do I will aim for a 10% fat content and see how it goes. Meanwhile I am off to New Zealand for two weeks from tomorrow so it will have to wait until I get back.
I was brought up as a kid in Scotland 50 years ago, where the Italian gelato ice cream did not have added cream and was just less than 5% fat. It was served from rotating freezing vats, which stopped it re-crystallising and kept it smooth. I loved it, and still do when I find it.
It could be that, because people today are used to high fat luxury ice cream, they don’t immediately like a low fat ice cream. Hope you get to experience a really good one.
trying to get italian scotts ingredients is so hard
Recently I read the labels of two brands of cocoa on a supermarket’s shelf to ascertain the ingredients. The first, Cadbury’s, stated just cocoa, but the second, the supermarket’s own brand, stated not only cocoa but also sodium carbonate! This is most alarming because sodium carbonate is washing soda. I am not sure what washing soda would do to one, but it may well degrease the gut. It obviously pays to read labels.
Good Lord. And people wonder why food manufacturers plead with the FDA to let them leave certain ingredients unlisted.
The sodium carbonate was added to the cocoa to make so-called “dutched” chocolate. It merely neutralized natural acids already present in the cocoa. It makes the flavor milder. Chemically, you end up with the sodium salts of said acids. Nothing to worry about…it’s not going to “degrease” your gut. FWIW its quite possible the Cadbury product had some dutched cocoa too, and didn’t disclose it on the label.
Another day…another fight with pseudoscience. BTW I hope you never eat cured olives because guess what…they are treated with lye!
Today I made my modified version of the Sicilian gelato and this time I omitted the sugar, vanilla and salt, and, substituted with about 115 grams of orange blossom honey. The result, well – quite devine.
Hello again. I’m hoping to make some frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest) ice cream today using the Sicilian base. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days; do I use less sugar than the above recipe states dur to the sugar content of fruit?, do I puree half the fruit and add the rest whole?, do I add the fruit when the mixture is on the hob or do I mix it into the mixture after it’s been churned? I have a box of frozen fruits of the forest from Aldi which I will use. I’d love a quick asnwer as I plan on making it in the next hour or so. Many, many thanks 🙂
P.S. it never occured sooner to me to ask about it on this site.
The fruits of Frutti di bosco usually translates into a mix of berries, and those are typically simply not sweet enough on their own to successfully use in ice cream. I would therefore suggest that you mix the berries with sugar and let them macerate a little before mixing them into the ice cream base. The exact amount depends on things like how much fruit you want to add, how sweet you like the end-result to be and so on. A reasonable point of departure could be to begin with, like, 100 gram sugar per 250-300 gram fruit and assess if that is to your liking (I would also add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the sugar/berries-mix).
Whether you then decide to purėe it all or not again comes down to a personal choice. Myself, I would probably puréé all, or almost all, of the berries. Just remember that leaving whole berries to freeze are likely to leave them … well, frozen. Mashing the berries roughly might be a middleway between keeping the berries whole or purėeing them completely. The more purėed the fruit, the earlier you can add them to the base (and vice versa). With Frutti di bosco, however, you might like to play around with rippeling. If so, I would purėe the macerated fruit and swirl or ripple it into the ice cream base right after churning :-). Good luck!
Hello, thank you so much for your swift and in-depth response. From what you have told me I think I will go down the rippling route using a mix of puree and crushee berries, 2:3 respectably. For future reference, would I be able to add all of the puree when the mix is simmering on the hob or is that too early? Also your base recipe states 1/2 cup sugar but would I use a proportion of this in the puree or add additional to the puree?
My main reason for being so cautious is that I really want the gelato to mix properly in the maker. I’ve heard that the sugar amount is crucial to this.
Thank you so much, this page is ever so helpful.
If you want to retain the flavour of fresh, rather than cooked, fruit (the latter could, of course, be an interesting flavour-twist in itself …) I would strongly suggest that you only add the purėe once the base has cooled down. And the sugar in the base recipe is meant for the base only, so you would need to add additional sugar for the purėe itself.
And you are right that sugar is important, not only with regard to sweetness: too little and your ice cream may lean towards unpleasant iciness (the main problem with too little sugar in sorbets). That, in turn, is largely also a matter of how much water an ice cream base contains (with fruits typically adding quite a lot) and how well this water is “bound” by the base. Luckily, the starch used in Sicilian gelato is very effective when it comes to binding water so – while certainly important – a moderate lack of sufficient sugar will probably mostly turn out to be a matter of taste here, rather than appear as a ‘structural flaw’ 🙂
Thanks do much for these quick and comprehensive replies. I just have a few more questions before I make it:
1. What weight of mixed friuts should I use in one batch of the Sicilian Gelato base?
2. Can I make the puree from frozen berries and add it straight to the base after churning?
3. Can I use vanilla extract instead of the pod in your base recipe and if so how much?
1. Test with about 250 gram and see how that turns out.
3. Yes. About 1 teaspoon should probably be OK.
I have made this base a number of times now — and found that my favourite “flavouring” is Coffee with Ginger.
I use 300 mls of 35% thickened cream, 300 mls milk, 3/4 cup sugar,two tablespoons of cornflour and one teaspoon of vanilla essence– I bring all this to just below the boil (stirring continually) together with two tablespoons of coffee granules and 40ml of Expresso coffee. ADuring the churning process, I then put in a handful of finely chopped chrystalised ginger. Very nice indeed!
Great to hear about your favourite flavour – obviously, I got to try coffee with ginger one of these days 🙂
I recently came across these flavoured sugar syrups http://www.monin.com.au/ which I thought would be good for flavouring the base ice cream
I have tried it once so far – using Gingerbread flavour. (also put in a little more ginger and cinnamon) — turned out very good with strong Gingerbread taste. The flavouring mix I used was 20% of milk/cream
My next try will be orange flavour – and will add some orange marmalade in the final churning.
Hi there, complete newbie here in ice cream/gelato making. I’d like to give this a try but the only milk we have at the moment are all non fat milk. Will that be alright to use?
I have not tried it myself, but the starch would probably stabilise the ice cream even if made of non-fat milk. However, the lack of fat would at least affect the “mouthfeel” of the ice cream (in the direction of sorbets, I would guess). While you will end up with a somewhat “different” ice cream, you may still like it though, so I see no harm in testing 🙂
Hi Anders, can you please give us the weight of corn starch in grams, and is corn starch the same as UK cornflour? Regard Paul.
It never hurts to check-weight yourself, but count with about 10 gram/tablespoon. And yes, corn starch = UK cornflour.
Haven’t made much icecream lately — been on a health kick trying to lose some weight!!
But it has been Christmas — so I made another batch of Gingerbread icecream using the MONIN syrup as a flavour base. I use 120ml of the syrup plus 300 ml of 35% cream and 300 ml 4% milk for this cornstarch based icecream. I have very happy with it.
I managed to come upon a number of bottles of this MONIN syrup quite cheaply — it is commonly used here in Australia in coffee shops (what for, I don’t really know)
Tomorrow I will make a blackcurrent flavoured cornstarch icecream
Good to hear about your flavouring experiments; while losing weight and enjoying ice cream can be difficult, the starch-based type at least makes it a bit easier (since so much of the cream can be replaced by milk and still provide an ice cream with a nice texture) 😉
Thanks for your brilliant website. Having fun and getting full simply by reading. My attempt at this Sicilian gelato-style ice cream is in the freezer. I used the suggested 3 level tblspns cornflour with 500ml cream and 200ml milk. It thickened instantly to a custard I could use for trifle or to concrete the driveway! Even the ice cream maker groaned in dismay. Still, it tasted wonderful so I can’t wait to try the finished frozen product… ever hopeful. Next time I’ll try perhaps only 1 or 1-2T. Will let you know outcome 🙂
Glad you like the website, and looking forward to hearing more about how your ice cream turned out 🙂 .
Oh Anders, it was less like a brick of ice cream and more like a housing brick. Truly. I cut a sample out and tossed the rest. The flavour was good though I think I’ll use more vanilla next time; when softened it tasted like white sauce, albeit a tad sweeter 🙂 I love the idea of the cornflour base so next time it’s more vanilla and lots less cornflour. I’ll let you know. Fingers crossed for me…
I’m starting to wonder if cornstarch comes in different grades of strength 😉 .
While I typically use the ‘original’ recipe here, you can see from the comments above that others found 1-2 tablespoons more to their liking. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your next attempt 🙂
Yes — I tend to use less cornflour than what is in your recipe Anders around 2 tablespoons.
I also mostly use 300Ml of 35% cream to 300 ml of 4% fat milk. Even then sometimes I feel that it is too rich – so I may try using even less cream and more milk. I am just about to make a commercial product in my home icecream machine– which is a powdered Gelato base, using 4% milk only. It has many E numbers, the only 2 of which I recognised being Guar and Xantham gum – but I am interested to see how it comes out using only milk
Hi Anders! Attempting a Dutch cocoa concoction today. Just had a thought: Would cocoa act as a further thickener? I’ll gauge as I cook the mixture. By the way, it occurred to me that the ‘cornflour conundrum’ could be caused by the varying international measurements (*sigh* if only we adhered to the same). Here in Australia, our tablespoon measures 20ml. Most other places it is 15ml. Therefore this recipe can vary from 3T by 15ml, to 4T by 20ml. 45ml to 80ml is almost doubling the amount. Then there’s level, rounded and heaped, though recipes nowadays call for level unless stated otherwise. Ho-hum. Will advise re today’s success/disaster 🙂
Hi Anders, me again! Ooh I made the most deliciously rich, sinful, decadent and naughty Dutch chocolate ice cream. It was perfect! So silky! And, I took the lazy way, putting all ingredients including cocoa into the saucepan at the same time and cooking until thickened, took off hob and added dark chocolate. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Think I’ll make a berry swirl next. Loving this. ^_^
Great to hear Ozmo! And you are right about the measurements – all the tablespoons on this site are assumed to be 15 ml (and levelled, unless otherwise stated) 🙂
Anders, I like your website a great deal. I have been reading it without responding for a while, and playing with sicilian gelato making.
I’ve made vanilla (not with a real bean) with a 70% cocoa broken up chocolate bar and using half and half, and I’ve made some gelato with baker’s cocoa and chopped walnuts, again half and half, and a batch of my idea for molasses/sugar/ginger powder and chopped almonds, part half and half and part regular milk (I think I cooked the cornstarch and sugar milk mix too long) so that one was more like strange sorbet, but otherwise delicious.
Right now I’m making a meyer lemon (hybrid of lemon and mandarin orange) gelato using a cup of heavy cream, a cup of half and half, and a cup of regular milk, and brought the cornstarch down to 2 tablespoons, sugar at 1/2 cup. After the mix got cold in the refrigerator, I added a 1/4 cup of lemon juice. This mix was the thickest yet, and I’m liking it, as I had to scoop it into the ice cream maker.
The concoction is still whirling around in my machine, but I just tasted it and the consistency is great and the taste is wonderful. Time to go put the gelato into containers..
I’ve learned so much from this blog – thank you!
Thanks for your kind words Ossobuco, and happy to hear that you like the website! Good also to hear about your flavourful experiments in ice cream making 🙂
Thank you so much for an egg free recipe! I gained my love for making gelato, from when I was making it at Whole Foods. Now that I am no longer working there, I miss making gelato! I received an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, but have had a hard time finding a good recipe. Can’t wait to make my coconut curry and chocolate rose gelato!
You are welcome – and do not miss the opportunity to also check out the type which uses arrowroot as starch (if possible even simpler to deal with than corn starch). By the way, your coconut curry and chocolate rose flavours sound really interesting!
They were awesome sellers at Whole Foods, along with my personal creation of lemon lavender sorbet….
I’ll pick up some arrowroot in the future. I do remember watching Graham Kerr using that many times on his show (eons and ages ago!)
Totally delicious! I made a Bourbon-Maple-Roasted Almond this way and it’s absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing the recipe… I’m a fan!
Payal, very happy to hear that you like it! And your own flavour-version sounds really tasty 🙂
Anders, your site has being so educating, helpful and intresting. I’ve looked every where for how best to make my own ice cream, tired the custard base, but this silican gelato is thumbs up for me.
I have tried it using just vanilla extract and it came out really good. 1.5 cup each of full cream milk and cream, it was absolute decadence. The most intresting thing I realised is that it holds it’s structure even when it melts.
I would like to know, can I use this recipe for commercial ice cream production?
Very happy to hear that you like the site, and good luck with spreading the Sicilian gelato-word in Nigeria 🙂
Anders, a super creamy homemade ice cream, are my taste buds deceiving me!?… I nearly never post comments, but this ice cream recipe of yours deserves to be highly praised! THANKS 100x’s over and have an awesome summer.
Many thanks for your kind words, and a great summer to you as well 🙂
hello ! just wondering, if i were to make this the night before i wanted to churn it. would the mixture be fine in the fridge over night?
it wouldnt go to thick, or maybe form a rather thick skin?
No problems with making it the night before and leave it in the fridge over night! If the mixture thickens (which it likely will) you will still be able to churn it. If you worry about skin, just give the mixture a simple whisk before churning (if a skin has formed, you could probably also just churn it anyway: the final ice cream would in all likelihood come out alright regardless) 🙂
If you do keep it in the fridge overnight, cover it with clingfilm directly on top of the mixture then a skin will not form.
Thank you for this great website, i live in tunisia and started making and selling ice cream about 4 years ago using a base close to the American Style (no eggs and no heat) and i got interested in using cornstarch as stabiliser but in summer time we work alot than usual (60 to 80 litre a day) and it will be difficult without pasteurizer.
if you have any idea that could help me please let me know.
Thanks for your kind words. For optimal effect, starches typically require that the base is heated (although the extent may differ a bit depending on the type of starch. Arrowroot, for example, requires less than corn starch). Starch-stabilised ice cream bases do not require any particular “maturing”, so the question is if you can find any quick way to rapidly cool down the base and then – as soon as that has happened – churn it. Also, in the abscence of a dedicated pasteuriser, you could perhaps consider starting out by preparing smaller quantities of starch-based ice cream and (continue to) mainly rely on American style-bases for the bulk?
Starting with smaller quantities could be the better option for now, and how about heating the starch in a small portion of the base and then add it to the rest and cool it down ? could that be a good adea or no ?
Arrowoot seems better than cornstarch but i think it will be difficult to find it in my country ( i hope im wrong :p ). one more thing starchs for frozen yoghurt good or bad ?
You could try heating only a smaller portion with the starch and see how that works out (it does work with gelatin, so if you are really quick, it might work at least reasonably well with starch too). Do let me know if it turns out alright!
Starch could certainly be used also in frozen yoghurts – the issue (again) will be the heating: I prefer my frozen yoghurts “uncooked” but that might not be wholly possible when working with stabilisers/emulsifiers requiring heating.
Oh man, thank you so much for this recipe! I’m on a low-fodmaps diet, and being without so many foods is just unbearable. I’m not able to have milk, of course, but coconut milk is comparable to whole milk so this should be super easy to make vegan!
I’ll let you know how it goes, but again thank you!
P.S. About how much cocoa powder would be suitable if one wanted to make a dark chocolate version of this recipe? I cannot for the life of me find a good baking chocolate in the grocery near my place, and don’t feel like walking all the way across town to check the other one.
You are welcome 🙂
And for a chocolate version of the recipe, check out the Chocolate Hemp seed recipe for inspiration!
Turns out, coconut milk is like 25% fat so I did half coconut milk, half almond milk, with a little bit of strawberry jam and some chocolate. I think the jam should have been folded in, but otherwise it’s really good. Recommend it to all your vegan friends! 😀
And thanks for an excellent website! I especially like the Sicilian gelato base, very nice consistency as the custard base is very, very creamy 🙂 My favourite ratio at the moment is 2 dl of whipping cream (36%) and 5 dl of 1.5% milk. The final product has about 12% of butterfat. 1 dl of sugar is more than enough with 2 tbs of gingerbread seasoning (Santa Maria brand here in Finland). Also I’ve tried to substitute the sugar with 0.5 dl of dark syrup. Works well too and the end product is not too sweet. Maizena is a good product for the corn starch.
Glad to hear that you like the website, and happy to hear about your own successful take on the base recipe! Using syrup instead of (all or part of) the normal sugar is a good idea, given the inverted sugar-benefits the syrup tends to bring to the ice cream, and as long as the particular syrup flavour works out (like for gingerbread ice creams, where syrup usually tend to enhance the overall flavour).
uhm should the texture be the same as with the normale icecream i buy outside? i mean it turned out okay but the texture seems a lil less like the commercial one and it melted way faster too.what to do?
The texture of commercial ice cream and home-made ice cream often differ, and home-made ice cream typically also melts faster than commercial ice cream.The main reason for this is that commercial ice cream often is made with various stabilizers, ingredients that keep the ice cream better together and make it melt slower. Sometimes, however, the effect can be almost creepy: some commercial ice creams – if left in the sun to melt – will never really melt; they will soften to the brink of melting, but will still retain their overall shape.
While nothing stops the home-maker from experimenting with industrial-style stabilizers, most probably find little reason to do it. Others even frown upon it, considering that the use of these ingredients makes the ice cream less ‘natural’ or ‘genuine’. And while there may be some good reasons for their commercial use (consider, for example, the value of not having a lorry-load of ice cream beginning to rapidly melt each time in the distribution chain the ice cream tubs need to be unpacked and repacked …), many of us would probably agree that one of the nicest things with home-made ice cream is that it can be delicious even without the use of these ‘extra’ ingredients.
Eggs and/or starch, however, fulfill the role of stabilizers so if you would like to improve on the texture or otherwise make your ice cream more stable, you could add a little more of these in your recipe.
Hello sir thank you for such wonderful post. I am interested in trying this out. However, one question pop out in my mind which would you know how long could this kind of gelato stays in the freezer without losing its good texture? 🙂
Eventually, over time, all ice cream tend to lose in quality (even if still edible) as the loss of air and the growth of ice crystals combine to make the eating experience less exciting than it should be ;-
The exact time when an ice cream has “gone over the top” is, however, difficult to state in general terms. As for all frozen desserts, it depends on a lot of factors (temperature of the freezer, how many times the ice cream has gone in and out of the freezer, packaging etcetera) but I can safely say that the Sicilian gelato-type of ice cream keeps itself as well as any of the other ice cream bases!
Hi Anders! My family have become fans of gelato, but when I make it with cornstarch, my husband doesn’t care for it as much. He claims it has a “pudding texture” when I use cornstarch. He’s recently developed a taste for Philadelphia style ice cream (which I make when I run out of eggs), so I was wondering can I leave out the starch all together – and eggs – and still have a decent “gelato”?
Thank you, I love your site!
Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂
I fear that your ice cream won’t be so pleasant if you cut out both the starch and eggs: both ingredients contribute to stabilising the ice cream, and without any of them, the overall consistency will suffer. Also, your ice cream is likely to freeze rock-hard in your freezer.
Now, if you think your husband has a point (“pudding texture”), you might try and reduce the amount of corn starch you have used so far: As you can see from other comments here, the views differ on how much corn starch ideally should go into a batch, and there is certainly room both for personal preferences and some experimenting here. Or you could try adding another stabiliser – if you don’t want to give up on starch, you may for example test with arrowroot, which I personally like a lot. Other relatively available options include Agar agar and even gelatin. Best of luck!
Thanks, Anders! The recipe I have been using calls for 3tbs cornstarch (it actually IS a chocolate pudding recipe, I just didn’t tell him that), so maybe it if reduce it to 1tbs, or switch to arrowroot he may not have the same reaction. I prefer eggs in my gelato, but using 4 per recipe becomes expensive.
Thank you again for your response! 🙂
Why we don’t want to boil the mixture? Will it destroy everything eventually? What is the optimum temperature for heating it up?
Corn starch begins to thicken (“gelatinize”) already at about 50°C (122° F), with the optimal heating temperature probably being around 70°C (158° F).
While starch-mixtures certainly can take even higher temperatures, boiling will actually weaken the thickening effect and the whole base will begin to “thin out” (the longer the heating, the more the base thins out): something which we certainly do not want 🙂
Hi Anders, Thanks very much for taking the time to put together an informative and beautiful site. I have loved reading all of this. The Sicilian Gelato is in the fridge at the moment on its way to the freezer. I am a Chef and convert everything to standardised recipes, can you please confirm that the Tablespoon you are using equates to 7g of cornflour.
Thanks for your kind words, and glad that you like the site!
I should say that my tablespoons probably are more like 8 gram/spoon. Note, however, the lively discussion about how much cornstarch (cornflour) one ideally should add. As always, once you have tried out the recipe, you may want to adjust the overall amount according to your own preferences 🙂
Please remind any UK followers that we in the UK have “Birds Custard Powder” to use. This is corn/maize starch/flour, plus added flavourings for making a tasty yellow custard with milk and sugar. So that’s how I make my custard base, but thinner, and all that’s left is to put it in the ice cream maker.
Hope this helps. And if anyone knows of equivalent custard powders in their own country, try using them. After all, ice cream is basically frozen custard.
As far as I know, Birds Custard Powder uses vanilla for flavour and annetto for colouring. So it makes vanilla ice cream.
In Scotland, traditional shops may describe it as “Italian Ices” (gelato), or sometimes as “Milk Ices”. This is because, without added cream, the fat content is below the regulation 5% fat content. Using a little cream to raise the fat content to above 5% allows it to be sold as “dairy ice cream”. But don’t add extra cream, and reduce sugar to a minimum, if you want a “healthier ice cream”. Here’s hoping the idea spreads.
Why in some Sicilian recipes they advise the use of cream cheese?
I think you better ask those who suggest it 🙂
Generally speaking, however, cream cheeses can work very nicely as an ice cream ingredient: both Ricotta and Mascarpone arguably belong to this family, and both can be found in Sicilian desserts:
On this site, you will, for example, find a “ricotta ice cream” here, and another one made with Mascarpone here.
Great site! I have a question, can i add in custard powder in substitution to cornstarch (so it gets a bit of the egg flavour but still remain healthy)? Or will custard powder change the whole ball game?
I think you’d have to try. Custard powder usually contains a lot more than just corn starch, and this might bring you both other additives and more sugar (to give a couple of examples). If you are keen on the egg flavour, it might be a more “natural” option to simply add one egg (or one egg yolk) to the base, ensure proper pasteurization and then add (a somewhat reduced amount of) corn starch and continue from there. It won’t be a classic Sicilian style-ice cream anylonger, but could still be a great ice cream! Best of luck!
But if you do want to try custard powder, avoid the Instant varieties which do have added ingredients so that only water is required to make custard.
In the UK, custard is traditionally made with Birds original custard powder, which only contains “Maize Starch, Salt, Flavouring (vanilla, I believe), and Colour (Annatto plant extract)”. I’ve spent my entire life eating it, which explains why it’s my first choice – and I like the flavour. No eggs. My apologies for always talking about it.
As for quantities, just treat it as corn flour.
I should have explained: corn starch, corn flour, and maize starch are all the same thing.
Thanks for the advice! I will try.
Lite funderingar runt siciliansk gelato Hur mycket maizena skall man använda i förhållande till vätska ??? låt säga du har ca 7 dl .Hur mycket maizena är jämförbart till en äggula
Vanligt vis så kör jag på detta receptet
2.5 dl grädde
150 gram socker
Om jag nu skulle byta ut gulorna mot maizena eller liknad
hur mycket stärkelse kan jag använda motsatt till 1 gula
Läste oxså någonstans att man kan även använda sockerlag
i smeten har du prövat den metoden .Mvh kenta
Det beror på vilken slutligt konsistens du vill ha – ju mer maizena, desto “tjockare” smet, så att säga (kolla övriga kommentarer här så kan du se att meningarna går isär om hur mycket man – idealiskt sett – bör ha i: bäst är nog helt enkelt att prova dig fram och testa och se vad du själv gillar. Grundreceptet på den här sidan är just baserat på 7 dl vätska så ett förslag är att du helt enkelt utgår från det.
Att man skulle använda sockerlag i “vanlig” glassmet har jag aldrig hört talas om, och om inte syftet är att göra isglassar (nog så gott!) så verkar det inte som någon bra idé med tanke på allt iskristall-benäget vatten man skulle få tampas med (däremot består ju som bekant sorbet av sockerlag + smak).
Jo det förstår jag jo mer stärkelse jo tjockare Men mycket handlar om få rätt proportioner .Jag är jäkligt kräsen :)Kan tipsa om en metod/teknik som Nick Palumbo med rötter från Sicilien numera verksam i Australien arbetar med. Grund ingredienser mjölk ,socker skummjölkspulver,dextrose och stärkelse. Jag har prövat mig fram bland olika metoder och recept Men detta är absolut den godaste lenaste glass jag gjort Jag kan om det skulle funka lägga upp receptet på
FIOR DI LATTE GELATO
Gör gärna det – skulle vara kul att se det receptet 🙂
FIOR DI LATTE GELATO. ( Nick Palumbo)
45G SKIM MILK POWDER
35G DEXTROSE or DEXSTROPUR
Put the milk and cream in a doubel bolier over medium heat.
Put all the powders in a bowl mix well. When the milk and cream hit 40 wisk in the powders and bring the mixture 65 and keep the mixture at 65 for 30 minutes whisking every 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a ice bath and chill so the mixture droppe to 4 place in the fridge and let it age for 4 houres or over the night.
Is this as close as you can get to Scottish Gelato ?
Kent, what stabiliser does this recipie use – starch? I’m also interested to know if the addition of skimmed milk powder reduces the amount of stabiliser required?
The stabiliser is Locust bean cum but you can also use guar cum powder both of them are great The advantage of using guar cum it work both in high and low temperatures 25-85.
Locust bean cum get their best pontential around 85.
skim milk powder has no influence of the stabiliser it s help to bulk up the protenis in the gelato. The protein help trap the air and keep it in the gelato once churned
Skim milk contains lacoste and what is does is absorb lots of water so there is no reson to add more stabiliser
Do no overdosing satabiliser ther is risk that your gelato may get unappetizing texture.
Hope it helped you .Good luck whit the gelato making
I normally use corn flour stabiliser (Birds custard powder), and have added skimmed milk powder in the past. Also, when I make a frothy coffee by whisking it, I find that added skimmed milk powder gives me a better froth. So, when I whisk my “custard” before making gelato, the added milk protein should also help trap air – as you say. It all makes sense.
Kent, my original question was whether the skimmed milk powder would mean adding less stabiliser – not more! But, as you say, no change required. Many thanks.
A little diffucult question to give a good answer to But the more solid you have in gelato less SMP.
Less solid more SMP.to absorbe water I think that kan be good guide-line
I’m trying to make my ice cream with less sugar but it end up become very hard to scoop after keeping in the freezer for 2 days.
Is there anyway to make my ice cream to taste less sweet but creamy and easier to scoop or roll over?
It is not so easy to cut down too much on sugar – as you have discovered, the consistency and structure suffers and the ice cream freezes too hard. In that sense, there is obviously a trade-off here (if you really wish to cut down on sugar, you could plan to eat the ice cream fresh from the churning, for example, before it has been hardened in the freezer. Or add a mashed banana for fruity sweetness and consistency).
In case you’d prefer to store your ice cream in the freezer and increase “scoopability”, you may try some of the following ways to get to a softer frozen result:
– Add some alcohol (about 1-2 tablespoons per batch) to the ice cream base.
– Substitute some (about – maximum – 25 % is one rule of thumb) or all of your “ordinary white sugar with inverted sugar (like honey, agave syrup, corn syrup or their likes).
– Increase the proportion of cream in the recipe; possibly also whipping the cream before adding it to the base.
I’ve been using only whipped cream and condensed milk for ice cream base before I tried this recipe and I can say that I like this very much. I flavored my first attempt with chocolate, next week I’ll try another flavor. Thank you for sharing this.
Jenny, you’re welcome! Glad to hear that you liked the recipe and best of luck with your future flavours 🙂
When during the process would you recommend adding a liquor for flavoring?
Also, what ratio/percentage would you recommend?
Add any flavouring liquor to the base once it has cooled down. If you have a reasonable fast and powerful ice cream machine, you can simply add it to the base right before churning. Otherwise (and particularly if you have no ice cream machine and are using your ordinary freezer), add the liquor towards the end of the process to ensure that it won’t take forever for the ice cream to freeze properly.
As for amounts, it comes down to personal preferences, always balanced against the risk of getting a base that never really freezes and/or becomes “overbearingly alcoholic” if you add too much. If you search in the recipes on this site (keyword “alcohol”), you’ll find quite some variety when it comes to amounts used (from, like, 1-2, up to as much as 5-6 tablespoons) in a batch. Generally speaking, though, even a small amount of hard alcohol goes a long way in ice cream, so you really should not need to add much before you start to notice the flavour. Best of luck!
I’m wanting to experiment with a native scrub to New Zealand, Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum). I have tried the cream & homemade condensed milk (which I infused with Kawakawa leaves). It was yummy and creamy, but terribly sweet and maybe just a little bit too creamy.
I love the simplicity of your recipe and can’t wait to experiment with different flavors and cream/milk ratio. Can you recommend a way of infusing kawakawa into your recipe?
I looked up Kawakawa and it looks like a fascinating plant, so infusing its flavour in ice cream seems indeed like a worthy goal. Now, I know that the condensed milk-recipes are seductively simple, but they do tend to become very sweet. If you want to experiment, you might try to add more milk to offset some of the sweetness, but at some point you are likely to run into problems (typically, a growing tendency towards unpleasant iciness and deteriorating texture).
Might I instead boldly suggest that you try one of the cooked bases instead? The link provides a couple of examples, but you will find many more varieties on the site. Many of them are actually very simple to do, too, and lend themselves well to infusions: just add the Kawakawa to the base when you heat it, then let it infuse during the cooling down/chilling. Then, of course, remove the plant parts with the help of a sieve before churning.
IMHO, cooked custard bases have an undeserved reputation for being difficult to make: don’t let that discourage you – its really not that difficult.
Actually, if you go egg-less, the trusty Sicilian gelato base is even easier to make!
Or, if you really, really prefer to stick to no-cooked bases, try an American style-base and simply add the Kawakawa to the dairy and set it aside in the fridge to infuse for a few hours before churning.
Best of luck!
A mine of info , Thank you Anders ! . I have had an ice cream machine now for 2 years , every batch seemed to have ice in it, and I got disenchanted with trying to make homemade ice cream ,lots of sites said soft scoop was impossible because of the low temperature of domestic freezers at – 19 C .The Sicilian Gelato recipe has just made my day ! it is super scoopy , and I have made a nice salted caramel ice cream with it . Rum and Raisin tomorrow , and maybe Carob on Monday . Carob ice cream with a little coconut oil is awesome , but I have always been dogged by the ice crystals , but no longer , again many thanks for the brilliant info on your site .
Thanks a lot for your kind words, and good luck with your future ice cream-explorations!
Do you have an email address?
What a silly post, everybody trying to reinvent the wheel with a type of ice cream nobody has never heard of. An ice cream with 3% fat (assuming you use full fat) and corn starch? Yuk. That´s not ice cream, it´s frozen milk. The name is ICE CREAM in English, get it, that´s ICE as in frozen and CREAM as in heavy cream with a fat content of at least 35%. If you want a lovely egg-less ice cream go for the tried and tested Philly style which always yields wonderful results, that´s two parts heavy cream to one part whole milk, sugar (15% of the liquid weight) and pure vanilla extract for your base. You´ll end up with the purest, freshest and most delectable of ice creams which will have everyone coming back for more. Prize for the silliest comment (difficult to choose amongst so many) is the person who said that a freezer is ´´too cold´´ for ice cream. Well yes, freezers tend to keep foods frozen to preserve them, and in the same way that you can´t eat your meatloaf leftovers straight from the freezer you´ll also have to warm up your ice cream a bit to the ideal serving temperature of -12ºc. Unless you live in Antarctica without central heating for most of us that means leaving the ice cream on the kitchen counter for a while, do a few tests and you´ll soon get the hang of it. Still a five star rating because I take my hat off to anyone who goes to the trouble to share their recipe on the internet even if it´s not my cup of tea.
Yeah and this is SICILIAN GELATO, as in GELATO (which is made with less or no eggs and less cream generally) from SICILY, Italy (where the traditional gelato often just has no cream). So out of all comments this has to be the silliest one.
Thank you for this great information! We are wondering if we can make banana flavored gelato? Would you recommend that?
Hi Laurie and thanks for the appreciation! Bananas work very well in ice creams and are probably one of the very few rare fruits which do not require “extra” sugar as they are sweet enough on their own (you’ll still have to sweeten the base, of course). For maximum taste, you should try to get hold of bananas with skins filled with black spots, and on the verge of being almost over-ripe.
Best of luck!
I had 1.75 lites of souring milk to use up. Now milk is expensive in Canada. Two litres costs more than $3.50. I found this site plus your suggestions for cottage cheese. I decided to make the gelato first and use the rest for cottage cheese. It all worked perfectly.
I have a few cups of ice cram and another few cups for lasagna. Thanks very much!
Thank you for this great website. I have a question about when using cream. If I am using cream, does the cream has to be heated? Does this make any difference? In other words, between mixing cream and milk then heating both together vs. heating milk then adding cold cream at the very end (cold cream added after mixing and heating cornstarch, sugar, milk etc).
I have not tried but think that it should work to add (cold) cream towards the end: after all, some recipes stipulate that the (cold) cream should be added during the final churning!
However, there might be consistency issues – when you “activate” the corn starch, the cream will not be there to benefit, so to say. Then again, if most of your
recipe consists of milk rather than cream, I would hazard the guess that it should work out nicely.
Love the recipe!! Thank you for sharing!
Glad you like it 😀
Thank you for this! I’ve been wanting to recreate the perfect ricotta gelato I had at Caffe Sicilia in Sicily and think I’ll use this as the base. Any idea how I would adjust it when I add in ricotta? less milk?
Yes, you could certainly try to substitute some of the milk for ricotta! As you probably already have noticed, ricotta can make an ice cream quite heavy (something I noticed when I used it to make Cannoli ice cream), but as you already have a good idea of what your perfect gelato should be like, I encourage you
to keep experimenting until you get there 🙂 !
I followed your recipe but replaced the 125ml of sugar with 100ml of honey, corn starch with potato starch. The mixture ended up nice and thick.
However, after leaving it to cool, the mixture started to thin out. The consistency is like normal milk now.
Did I have to cool it down with an ice bath or was honey not a suitable substitute for sugar?
Consistency problems with starches can depend on different things, the most common ones probably being (either) under- or overheating: Generally speaking, starches need to be heated (usually up to a boil- or almost-boil) for a few minutes to develop their stabilising qualities. However, starches differ from each other and while one type might require several minutes of near-boiling to work properly, that time might be too much for other types of starch. From what I have gathered, potato starch is one of the more “heat sensitive” starches. If I had to guess, I therefore think that overheating might have been the issue in your case. Try to quickly cool down the base once it has thickened and see if that helps (or test with another type of starch)!
I followed your advice and tried everything 1/3 of the ingredients(wanted experiment) and it turned out too thick, the ice cream stayed solid(resembling curd) even after returning to room temp. Although it eliminated the icy texture, but it was replaced with a gross curd texture.
I figured out that maybe 3 tablespoons will be too much, so I tried 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of potato starch instead. The mixture didnt reach to a point that it was thick enough. After 5 minutes, I decided to let it cool down. I’m really confused to what’s going on. I don’t think that 1/2 tablespoons would make so much of a difference. Looking forward to any suggestions:)
It is difficult to tell what went wrong, especially since you managed to get the base to thicken the first time. In my experience, it is usually not a problem even if an ice cream base ends up rather “gelled” (sort of á la the consistency of a loose pudding, sort of): While this indicates that too much starch was used, the end result once churned is usually fine. Those worried about possible unpleasant ‘clotting’ can whisk the chilled base just before the churning to ensure smoothness.
That said, there might be a reason why potato starch very rarely is mentioned in the context of ice cream making: testing with another type of starch might be a less frustrating path to success 😉 .
I’ve succeeded! I did some research it turned out that starches will thin out a mixture if it’s acidic. Honey is acidic and that was probably the reason why it kept thinning out during the cooling(even when using cornstarch). So I mixed in the honey during the freezing process.
However, I could still feel an icy texture on my tongue. I’m going to use 4 tbs instead of 3 tbs the next time.
Ian, great to hear that you succeeded! And thanks for letting us in on your research on honey and starches!
Please advise the amount of cornflour to be added if my base is only made of whole milk. Is evaporated milk an option for richness without cream for fruit ice creams especially where the colour doesn’t matter much? With so much conflicting advice on high fat/ Low carb or Low fat/high carb it’s difficult to decide what kind of base to go for. A base both tasty and ‘healthy’ would be nice.
I guess you’re not the only one looking for a base both tasty and healthy 😉
As far as bases go, the starch-based ones are quite good for those who wish to reduce the amount of (cream-based) fat. However, be advised that everything comes at a cost: if the fat is significantly reduced, you’ll need more of something else to stabilise the ice cream with. And secondly, there is a risk that you will end up with an ice cream that comes across as “too thin” … which is why I personally seldom go for “milk only” versions (as can be seen in this very nice – and rather slim – Sicilian gelato variety made with wonderful Arrowroot).
If the cream is omitted, more starch will obviously be required. Exactly how much depends on personal taste – as you can see in the comments to this post, different persons have different opinions on what constitutes the point when too much (corn) starch has been used. I suggest you experiment a little, perhaps adding 1-2 tablespoons and see if you like the result. Using evaporated milk can certainly be a good idea, as this will reduce the overall amount of ‘free-floating’ water and increase the richness of the ice cream. Without resorting to sorbets and sherbets, there are also other possibilities – for example, adding a mashed banana (if that works with the main flavour …) will also provide additional consistency. Best of luck!
Been reading the comments here and on other posts on your website. Some users have mentioned the term “butterfat” in the recipes . While I understand it refers to the fat content in an icecream, I would greatly appreciate if you could explain how to calculate the same for any given recipe. Also in the interest of making a skinnier icecream can cream be replaced by fully or in part by full fat milk powder without compromising taste and texture.
Thanks in advance
Sonia, as for the calculations I think I’ll simply direct you to my dear fellow ice cream blogger (although sadly no longer so active) Ice Cream Geek: his butterfat calculator might be what you’re looking for!
If you want to make skinnier ice cream, full fat milk powder is probably not the right way to go: adding some skimmed milk powder, on the other hand, can improve the consistency and texture – technically, by increasing the amount of “non fat milk solids” (the proteins brought by the milk powder) you can offset a reduced amount of butter to some extent (using too much skimmed milk powder, however, tends to make the ice cream taste “sandy”).
Has a very strong cornstarch taste and felt mushy on my tongue
If you notice any ‘cornstarch taste’, the base most likely needs to cook a bit longer.
I really like the texture from this recipe/base and was wondering if the base can work with fruits. The fruits I am thinking are Lychee or Pineapple or Taro. Do you think any of these fruits would work with this base and how would I go about making it? The fruits I have are fresh fruit (not extract or flavoring). If the base does not work, do you have any suggestion for base/recipe that can work with those fruits.
The short answer is “yes” – you can certainly use this base also for fruit ice creams! May I suggest that you look for inspiration and suggested proportions by taking a look at my Plum Sicilian gelato-recipe? Best of luck!
Thanks for the reply. I notice that the mentioned recipe uses Arrowroot. Can I still use cornstarch like this recipe and what would be the difference? Also does the ice cream becomes icy or does that depends on the water content of the fruit?
You can simply replace the arrowroot with cornstarch and prepare the base accordingly (as you can see also in the plum-post, in practical terms you would probably need to keep the base heated a bit longer than for Arrowroot, in order to ensure that you do away with any “floury” taste: a possible issue with ‘under-cooked’ cornstarch bases). If you want to read up on the special qualities of Arrowroot, take a look at this post. Whether the ice cream becomes icy will, as you have guessed, partly depend on the water content of the fruit. However, the water-binding qualities of the starch should typically manage (in extreme cases, you might want to consider increasing the amount of starch).
I was wondering if there is any difference between adding cornstarch to COLD dairy/milk (as in your recipe) vs. adding cornstarch to HOT dairy? I came across this recipe (https://food52.com/recipes/75477-sicilian-style-ice-cream). Specifically this part, “Cook the cream mixture, stirring occasionally, until very hot but not boiling. Add a splash to the sugar-cornstarch mixture and stir until smooth. Add another splash and stir, then another splash and stir. When you’ve added about half the cream and milk, pour the starchy liquid back into the pot and whisk to combine.”, which adds cornstarch to very hot (but not boiling) dairy. Does either method have any effect on the texture of the final product? or maybe on the lump on cornstarch after cooking? Thanks again!
The two biggest “dangers” when using cornstarch is probably a lingering “starchy” flavour if not sufficiently cooked, and a loss of binding power if cooked too long.
The reason why I recommend making the slurry with cold liquid rather than hot is because there is a big risk of the starch clumping up. Also, I see no particular
gains by complicating the process by going for hot dairy 🙂 .
I know I’m late to the party, but–cooking the starch for 45 minutes? Usually you boil starch for 1 minute for full hydration, and never longer than 3 minutes or the starch will thin out.
Any reason for the long cooking time?
45? The recipe actually only proposes “about 4-5 minutes” which thankfully is quite a difference 😉 .
You’re absolutely right that longer cooking times will thin out the starch, making it less effective. My proposed time is more of a recommended estimate, also with a view to prevent any lingering starchy tinge (a risk in case the cooking time is too short). But if the starchy flavour is gone, feel free to cut down on the recommended cooking time!
Anders, thank you for sharing this recipe. I have experimented with a few and this is the best yet. I have been keen to avoid using egg and cream in my ice cream / gelato and the texture of this is perfect! I have to admit that I add a couple of tablespoons more sugar (sweet tooth perhaps), and just before I finish the churning I throw in 2 cups of chopped sour cherries. So good! I can’t wait to experiment with more flavour variations, and try out some of your other recipes. Thank you!
So happy to hear that you like the recipe! Best of luck with your future ice cream experiments 😀 !
Dear Anders, I am wondering if it is possible to use lactose free milk in the Sicilian gelato recipe? Would I need to make other changes and additions such as adding gelatin or a agar agar?
You can certainly use lactose free milk and without any need for special adjustments! Just make sure that the fat-content is similar to that of “ordinary” whole milk.
I had no idea that gelato is starch-stabilized. I need more starch in my diet. I love ice cream so I’ll try out gelato.
terrible recipe it came out all icey. it didnt thicken even after adding minimum that adding maximum corn starch. I recommend 2 cup milk 2 cups cream it turns out perfectly every time..
Sorry to hear that, although a bit surprising since this recipe is very well tested. That said, the “water-binding power” of corn starch gets
reduced if cooked too long. Could that have been the case? Anyway, I’m happy to hear that you have found a formula that still works for you 🙂
I am just about preparing my first batch and I am thinking about a vanilla base gelato but infused with fresh rosemary. At what point do you reccomend me to drop the herb ? and for how long to get a well balanced flavor ?? Thanks in advance.
Sounds delicious! While the strength obviously also depends on how much of the herb you’ll use, I would probably drop the herbs right at the point when you take the still-hot base off the stove to cool down. How long, then? Well, that depends on you, the amount of herbs you’ll be putting in and what you consider “well balanced” 😉 .
One possibility is to leave the herbs in the base for a couple of hours or so and then sample it and check the strength. However, unless you plan on adding massive amounts of rosemary to begin with, you could probably also take a chance and just leave the herbs in the base over night 😉 Best of luck!
I’ve experimented a few times with this recipe and can’t remove the cornstarch aftertaste. Maybe I’m just sensitive to it, but I’ve lowered the amount of cornstarch to 2 tbsp and tasted it at 1, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes of cooking time. It gets a little better with more cooking but doesn’t really go away.
Paul, sorry to hear that. Given the amount of experimentation you seem to have done, it may perhaps be that you are, as you put it, just (extra) sensitive to it.
Perhaps you could give try other starches a try? Arrowroot leaves virtually no aftertaste at all, and is one I personally like a lot. Tapioca and potato starch would be other starches likely to leave less aftertaste.
Hi, I tried the recipe today but it didn’t turn out as gelato, it stayed as a runny custard like consistency. What do you think I did wrong?
Sorry to hear that. Even if the corn starch did not do its job properly (for instance, if its “binding power” had been reduced by prolonged cooking) it surprises me that your final ice cream was runny. If so, the problem might possibly be with the ice cream machine/the freezing of the base.
Alan, have you or anyone successfully used Coconut cream OR Coconut Milk as part of the milk portion of the recipe? If so, how much proportion and pls comment on result. Thanks!
I want to do a mango gelato. Do you have any suggestions for how much mango to use? That’s the only thing I am not clear on with this receipt. Thanks!
How much mango to add would ultimately depend on how much fruit flavour you’d like to have in your gelato. For some “quantity inspiration”, you can check out some of the other mango-recipes on this site! For example, this one.
Using those proportions for the mango-part, you could add about 400 ml sweetened mango purée (about 2 ripe mangoes plus 100 ml extra sugar!) to the Sicilian Gelato base recipe here.
Still not mango enough for you? – add more mango/sugar (proportions 4:1) until you’re satisfied with the overall flavour. Best of luck!