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Olive Oil Gelato with Balsamic Strawberries

This recipe showcases olive oil in an unlikely form—Italian gelato. Just before serving, the gelato is topped with fresh strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar, a classic pairing in Italy. Serve this gelato to your guests, and let them guess what makes the taste so intriguing!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and cream. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed until thick and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and beat until combined, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Slowly add 2 cups of the hot milk mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, beating until just combined. Slowly pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking with a handheld whisk until combined. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and a candy thermometer registers 175°F, about 15 minutes.

Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Place the bowl in a larger one partially filled with ice water and cool the custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the gelato to a chilled container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving.

One hour before serving, prepare the strawberries: In a bowl, combine the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, scoop the gelato into individual bowls and top each with 1/4 cup of the strawberries with their juices. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Inspired by a recipe from The Babbo Cookbook, by Mario Batali (Clarkson Potter, 2002).