Smack Yo Mama Good!

You know that moment when something is so mind-boggling delicious, your brain short-circuits and impulse takes over? In the South, appreciation sounds a little something like this, “Oooh weee, I'm gonna smack yo mama!"

While I spent time in the South, and I've certainly had some tasty bites, I didn't fully grasp the meaning...until I tried this gianduja ice cream. The recipe is Italian...but the expression that sums it up, is pure American.

Words fail to express how truly delicious this recipe is, but with a scoop of this gianduja nearby, all I can say is....


Brace yourself!

If you're accustomed to making ice cream, there's a step or two more than usual in this recipe (toasting the nuts, rubbing the skins off, infusing the liquid.) I say...get over it! Every second spent working on this recipe is totally worth it!

Gianduja Gelato
The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz

Makes about 1 Quart (1 Liter)

1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted*
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rub the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to remove as much of the papery skins as possible, then finely chop them in a food processor or blender.

Warm the milk with 1 cup of the cream, sugar, and the salt in a saucepan. Once warm, remove from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Put the milk chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat the remaining 1 cup cream in a medium saucepan until it just begins to boil. Pour it over the milk chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set a mesh strainer over the top.

Pour the hazelnut-infused milk through a strainer into a medium saucepan, squeezing the nuts firmly with your hands to extract as much of the flavorful liquid as possible. Discard the hazelnuts.

Re-warm the hazelnut-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the milk chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according the manufacturer’s instructions.

*10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven