How to make simple, delicious and sugar free fiordilatte gelato ice cream the Italian way.
Although summer is well and truly over back in blighty, here in Italy it is still warm and sunny most days. Ice cream is the only type of dessert that I enjoy all year round and can never get sick of. But it is most satisfying when the sun is shining and the sky is blue like today.
Italian gelato culture
In Italy, ice cream is a widespread culture for all ages. Italians love to gather around ice cream parlours (gelateria) to chat and enjoy their gelato fix. At week-ends, gelaterias are like magnets for families. At night they appear to be the favourite meeting point for young boys and girls’ heading for a night out. Parlours are mostly small family businesses where ice cream is made on site. Their owners usually display prominent signs proudly proclaiming their artisan workmanship and quality ingredients. The best Hazelnut ice cream (nocciola), for example, is considered to be one where the main ingredient is a specific variety of Piedmontese nuts. These nuts are grown in a recognised area in Piedmont and have been given the certification ‘I.G.P.’ (which basically means they are guaranteed to be the real McCoy).
Italians do it better
Admittedly, it does seem crazy that produce can be given letters after its name – much like a doctor or scientist. But actually, Italians are proud of their produce and you can’t blame them for wanting to protect it in every way possible, so that lesser-quality look-a-likes can be spotted and avoided. In fact, I think Italy has got it right so far. Cheap, poor quality imports, laden with chemicals and mass produced to the point of being harmful to the habitat, are everywhere. And they are destroying both us and the environment. So yes, Italy may be quirky in its ways, but it is ethically and morally correct with its firm stance on produce.
In Italy, ice cream making is considered an art. If you wanted to open an ice cream parlour, you wouldn’t just face a mountain of bureaucracy. Oh no. You would also have to undertake an in-depth gelataio course, attend bi-annual refreshers and provide certification before the authorities will even consider giving you a licence.
Italians are proud of their ice cream fame and they have a right to be. If you ever visit Italy, you must visit a gelateria and see for yourself the vast array of choices available. Just remember that most, if not all, ice cream flavours on display will be loaded with sugar. So go in, take a look, ask if they do stevia ice cream and if the answer is no: walk away. Even though more and more parlours are embracing the sugar-free and gluten free thinking, they primarily aim at diabetics and people with intolerances, and there tends to be very little choice. In some parlours, these dietary options won’t even make the counter display and you will have to specifically ask for the ‘special’ gelatos hidden in the back room.
So what is this fiordilatte gelato ice cream thing?
Fiordilatte gelato is an Italian favourite that has been around forever. You will not find an Italian ice cream parlour that doesn’t offer it. The name translates as ‘milk flower’, a fitting appellation for a really delicate, subtle, milky smooth ice cream. Because it is quite neutral in flavour, it is often used as the base for other gelato flavours where there is no need for eggs.
That’s right. No pasteurisation of eggs involved here. It really is very simple to make, with very few ingredients required.
My ketogenic version delivers a flavour that is indistinguishable from the original made by master gelato artisans from the best ice cream parlours. I know it sound presumptious, but I have had more artisan ice cream that I’ve had hot dinners in my life, and I think I’ve pretty much honed in my gelato comparison skills. My only departure from the typical recipe is dark chocolate swirled on top, for no reason other than it simply gives extra crunch and yumminess.
All that said, I know you’re probably salivating by now, so let me put you out of your misery. Here is my super-duper recipe.
- place a sealable container for your ice cream in the freezer.
put all your ingredients, except the chocolate, in a blender and blitz for a few minutes.
- start your ice cream machine and then pour in the mixture.
let the machine churn for approx 15-20 min.
- microwave the chocolate in short bursts, stirring in between and never allowing it to bubble, until completely melted (or you can use the bain-marie method).
let it cool a little while the ice cream machine does its magic.
- when the ice cream is thick and sticking to the rotating blades, turn the machine off and scoop it into your frozen container.
pour the chocolate all over the ice cream so you end up with zig-zag strings all over it.
seal and freeze for 2 hours before serving.
to defrost in an even and consistent way, put it in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.
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