While waiting to receive my Mexican vanilla and vanilla beans in the mail, I decided to try the french vanilla gelato recipe found in Making Artisan Gelato. There were two vanilla recipes in the book — this one claimed to be closer to gelato than ice cream. The other one (called “Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Gelato,” although both recipes called for Madagascar bourbon vanilla) omitted the eggs and called for equal parts cream and milk, to make up for the richness the eggs would normally bring. In the description of that one, the book admitted it was closer to ice cream.
So I went with the French Vanilla gelato, which called for two cups of whole milk to one cup of cream. (The other two recipes I’ve tried so far had both been ice cream recipes, and likewise called for two cups of cream and one cup of whole milk.)
I followed the recipe closely to make the custard correctly, something I hadn’t done in my last ice cream attempt, although the custard seemed to turn out fine then.
Verdict: My first taste, before putting it in the freezer to harden properly, tells me that this one is going to be my favorite yet. Of course, it’s impossible to compare them all fairly because I’m not tasting them side-by-side. But if I would have had to guess before tasting, I would have said that my first taste of this one was at an unfair disadvantage because I was tasting it on a full stomach, after having already eaten dessert tonight. (which is one reason I merely tasted it, and didn’t eat a whole bowl.)
I thought the vanilla came out more in this one. That could be for a number of reasons:
1) I am finally learning how to scrape the vanilla bean to its full potential
2) I dumped in extra extract (3/4 t is nothing. Really…)
3) I made the custard better this time?
4) The fat of the cream is not interfering with my taste buds.
I sort of made that last one up. But it makes sense in my head.
Try as I might, it’s impossible for me to change the recipes just slightly enough so as to have a “control” in my experiments. But my first impression is that I like this one the best. I’ll have to wait and judge creaminess and consistency (which is where I really expect to taste a difference) once it freezes up a little more.
One thing that annoys me with the homemade ice cream making process (which I can’t help) is that the edge of the mix gets the coldest (obviously, since it’s right next to the cold bowl) and so it hardens up a lot more than the rest of the mix. So you’re left with these really hard pieces (you can kind of see them in the last picture). I can’t really do anything about that, though. It’s still delicious.
Next attempt: Mexican vanilla!
UPDATE: Verdict — not my favorite. I suppose that a gelato recipe requires a gelato maker. As you would expect from a recipe with more milk than cream, the gelato turned out almost icy and not as creamy as the other attempts. Now I need to decide what recipe to use for my Mexican vanilla. I’m thinking of using the first (the one sans eggs) because I think the vanilla flavor will come out the most in that one.