Homemade Vanilla Bean Gelato is the best! This is darn close to the best vanilla gelato we had in Italy! With summer in full swing, this is a perfect time to learn how to make gelato at home using an electric ice cream/gelato maker. The Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream/Gelato Maker is a great choice.
Watch the video to learn how to make my Vanilla Bean Gelato and Blueberry Gelato. My wonderful niece Alex joins me. She loves gelato!
It is easiest to make gelato with an automatic gelato/ice cream machine. I use my DeLonghi all the time. Cuisinart makes a great one too. Once you master this basic gelato recipe you can create many different flavors to suit your mood or menu. This traditional vanilla bean base makes enough for a 1 quart machine. I do not like to crowd the bowl in the machine as it expands during the freezing and churning process, so make it in two batches if needed. And I like to leave room to mix in some chocolate chunks or other goodies during the last 5 minutes.
So what is the difference between Gelato and Ice Cream? The only thing that Italians agree on is that there is less fat in gelato compared to ice cream.Gelato usually has more milk and less cream than ice cream. Gelato is usually more dense and has a more intense flavors. This is because gelato has less fat – allowing the other flavors to come though- and is slow-churned resulting in a more dense texture. Some Italian gelato recipes use cornstarch as a thickener in place of the egg yolks. Like many Italian recipes, it is a debate on how to make the best version. My view is that any gelato is good, especially when you make it home.
Vanilla Bean Gelato
- 1 whole vanilla bean pod
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
- ¾ cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
Split the vanilla bean pod down the center and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the milk and stir.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk with the vanilla seeds, the split vanilla bean pod, and vanilla extract and bring to a simmer. Do not boil.
In a medium glass bowl, beat together the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar until thickened and pale yellow. You can do this with a hand beater or by hand.
Remove the milk from the heat and very slowly whisk a small amount of hot milk into the egg/sugar to temper the eggs. Return the pot to the heat. Slowly whisk the egg/sugar mixture into the milk. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly just at the point of simmering. Do not let it boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the custard into a glass bowl and let cool slightly. You can strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve at this point if you think it needs it.
Add the cream to the custard and blend well with a whisk.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the fridge (or at least 4-6 hours).
Run it through your ice cream machine according to directions - about 30 minutes.
Scoop the ice cream into a freezer container and freeze overnight for best results.