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Gelato - a great Italian treat

Try a gelato for a wonderfully refreshing dessert that can include your favorite fruits and flavors

Gelato is a delightful dessert that is similar to ice cream, but with less fat content. The secret of this Italian ice cream is in the way it is made: more eggs, little or no cream, milk or water, and fresh fruits. You can also substitute or add your favorite flavorings such as cocoa powder or powdered espresso. The result is dense in texture with less air than ice cream and is not quite as firm.

In Italy, gelato is typically served during summer months only to take advantage of fresh, crushed fruits. If you are purchasing gelato at a local specialty store, look at the color. If it is pastel, it probably includes more natural flavorings while the brighter colored selections may be made from artificial flavoring.

It is fun to experiment with your own ingredients to make gelatos at home. Most gelato recipes require an ice cream freezer, but a few simpler versions can be made using a mixer. For this recipe, we're going to use a sugar-free artificial strawberry flavoring for a quick dessert. While not an "authentic" Italian version, the kids will love it.

Strawberry Gelato

1 cup milk
1/2 pint whipping cream
¾ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 packets powdered sugar-free strawberry flavoring (can use flavoring of choice)

Combine powdered flavoring and sugar in an unheated saucepan. Stir thoroughly and add milk. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl and whisk in. Turn on heat to medium and stir continuously for about 10 minutes. When mixture begins to steam, remove to cool. Beat whipping cream to stiff peaks. Add cooled stovetop mixture and blend thoroughly. Place in freezer for four hours.

Because this recipe calls for whipped cream, it is referred to as "semifreddo," which means half-cold. The final product will be more like a mousse in texture.


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