Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Limoncello-Coffee Gelato

One of my favorite places in the world to travel is Italy.  I would love to make it back to Italy in the next couple of years with my husband, who has never been.  The food in Italy, not surprisingly, is absolutely amazing.  One of my favorite Italian desserts that I had in Italy was gelato, the Italian version of ice cream.  Another one of my culinary-memories from Italy involves limoncello, which I recently made from scratch, so when I came across a recipe for Limoncello gelato, I was sold.  I'm actually calling this recipe limoncello-coffee gelato because it also incorporates coffee beans in the recipe, and has a noticeable hint of coffee flavor to complement the limoncello as well.  The final product has a very sophisticated limoncello flavor with coffee undertones.  It is quite pleasant, refreshing and wonderful.  It reminds me of a taste of Italy with a twist.  I loved making this flavor, using my homemade limoncello since I love making food items from scratch and using them in my routine cooking.  I was pleased with the consistency of the gelato as well - creamy and smooth, just the way that gelato should be.  I adapted the original recipe to increase the limoncello flavor.  The coffee balances out the acidity and sweetness of the limoncello.

Limoncello-Coffee Gelato (Adapted from This Recipe)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
4 coffee beans
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 T lemon juice
1/3 cup limoncello

Whisk the whipping cream, milk, buttermilk, cheese, coffee beans and lemon peel in a large saucepan.  Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the remaining bean.  Cook over medium-high heat until bubbles form at the edges.  Stir occasionally, but do not allow the mixture to boil.  Remove from heat, cover and allow to seep for about 15 minutes.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.  Slowly combine with the warm cream mixture, and return the the custard to the saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until the custard thickens, using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature.  Remove from the heat when the temperature reaches 180 degrees, about six minutes.  Again, do not allow the custard to boil.  Pour the custard into a mixing bowl and stir in 1/3 of a cup of limoncello.  Just before you add the limoncello, remove any remaining vanilla bean, as well as the coffee beans from the custard.  I did this by simply filtering the custard in a strainer.

Chill for at least four hours in the refrigerator.  I did the preparatory part in the evening, so I allowed it to chill overnight until the next day.  Use an ice cream maker to freeze, following manufacturer's instructions.  The higher egg yolk content of gelato and the mascarpone cheese will result in the gelato freezing much faster than conventional ice cream in the ice cream maker.  To serve, either enjoy plain, or serve with drizzled limoncello.  I think that this would also taste fantastic with Round Pond Estate Napa Valley Olive Oil.

Gelato on FoodistaGelato


  1. Yum Sasha, my favorite thing is coffee time with lemon pastries and cakes. This sounds like that in gelato form!

  2. I love your recipe...especially the use of citrus zest.

  3. Of course I skipped to the dessert. It has every Italian flavor you could want!

  4. What an amazing recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  5. This looks great! I love limoncello and coffee ice cream... and interesting combination.


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