One of my favourite local blogs is Italy On My Mind. Start reading it if you don’t already! Written by Paola Bacchia it covers Italian food including Paola’s own family recipes which have been passed down the generations. Paola also has a drool worthy Instagram account where she posts photos of her cooking and also of her regular trips to Italy.
It turns out I’m far from the only fan of Italy On My Mind and Paola has scored a cook book deal which has resulted in the beautiful Italian Street Food. She was kind enough to send me a review copy which led to some very pleasurable arm chair reading. The book is filled with recipes for pastries, porchetta and pizzette which Paola has developed herself after lots of local research. It also is filled with a lot of Paola’s own photographs so if you are a fan of her blog there is lots to love about the book.
Predictably when it came time to test out a recipe I couldn’t go past the gelati chapter. There is something about the gelati in Italy that is so, so good and I am very receptive to any tips for replicating it at home. I made Paola’s hazelnut, chocolate and salted pistachio ice-cream which was fairly labour intensive but worth it. I loved the flavour combination of a Nutella like gelati which salty pistachio swirled through adding some textural contrast.
The gelati is harder than the gelati you buy in stores but unfortunately it’s very difficult to replicate the amount of air that commercial ice-cream machines manage to fold in to the ice-cream (I use a Cuisinart home ice-cream maker). But if you get the gelati out of the freezer for about 10 minutes before serving it should soften up nicely.
- 200g hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
- 375ml full cream milk
- 150g sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 375ml thickened cream
- 100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
- 5 egg yolks
- 75g pistachios, shelled
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 12 minutes. Tip onto a clean tea towel and rub the skins off. Transfer nuts to a food processor and whizz until finely chopped.
- 2. Place the milk, sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat until dissolved. Don't allow the mixture to boil. Add the chopped hazelnuts and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside in the fridge to infuse, preferably overnight.
- 3. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just before boiling point. Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate has melted, then add the vanilla. Set a large strainer over the bowl and place the bowl in an ice bath.
- 4. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl and set aside.
- 5. Strain the chilled milk mixture into a small saucepan (discarding the leftover hazelnuts). Warm through the milk and then slowly pour in the egg yolk, whisking the whole time to prevent the egg scrambling. Pour the lot back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to thicken and coat the back of the spoon. Pour through the strainer into the bowl of chocolate cream and stir until completely cool.
- 6. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- 7. To make the pistachio swirl, place the nuts in a food processor and process to a fine crumb. Add the salt and honey, pulsing until they are evenly mixed through the pistachios. Taste and make sure the salt and sweetness is well balanced, then add 2-3 tablespoons water, a little at a time, pulsing between additions until you have a thick but pourable consistency.
- 8. Transfer one third of the ice cream to an airtight container. Using a teaspoon, swirl through one third of the pistachio mixture. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients, then freeze gelato for a few hours before serving.
Gourmet Chick received a review copy of Italian Street Food. Thanks Paola!