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Sicilian gelato-style ice cream

Sicilian gelato, or ice cream made with starch (instead of eggs), makes for a perfect and versatile base for most flavours! Making it is easy and fairly "fail-safe", and the results are generally very smooth and pleasant.
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  • 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.


Please note that you may want to adjust the amount of cornstarch used to find the consistency you prefer. For instance, if using a relatively high proportion of cream, you may want to use less cornstarch (1-2 tablespoons, suggestively). I encourage you to experiment and find out what suits you best!
You may wish to test other starches than corn starch (you will find some alternatives on this website) but you may have to adjust the quantity.