What is the difference between gelato and ice cream? Heretofore if asked this question, I would have said that gelato was made entirely from milk. Except that it’s not. Almost every gelato recipe I’ve come across includes cream. And in many cases, it is as much cream as you usually see in ice cream recipes. They also include egg yolks, just like a custard-based ice cream recipe would. There are some minor differences in process, but not quite enough to warrant a whole new category of food. So I am stumped. What IS the difference between gelato and ice cream? Is it just more fun to say “gelato”? Or will people think you are a bit of a pretentious snob? Do you have to actually be Italian to call your milk/cream/egg yolk combination gelato? Do you have to say it with an Italian accent? If my husband lived in Italy for a year, does that allow me to call it gelato by proxy?
I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately and I actually got a little sick of it. Shocker, I know, but my Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream recipe is very heavy on the cream and the last time I made it, I really didn’t want to eat any of it (my kids kindly gobbled it up for me). It must be the approach of warm weather, but I found myself craving something lighter in consistency, and thought I would attempt gelato. Chocolate Kahlua gelato. Doesn’t that sound great? Yeah, I thought so too. But then I started researching gelato recipes and realized that there was very little difference between the two. And if I made Chocolate Kahlua gelato with almond milk, cream and egg yolks, I would essentially be making my Chocolate Kahlua Ice Cream recipe all over again. Some minor differences, but not enough to call them two separate recipes.
But I am very good at changing horses mid-stream when it comes to recipe creation. Why not just swap out the homemade sugar-free Kahlua with homemade sugar-free raspberry liqueur? And why not toss some frozen raspberries in while I’m at it? Aha! Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato. A whole new recipe. Now, this is something I can present to my readers. So much for lighter consistency, though. The custard base was as thick as pudding, and with all that chocolate in there, it’s seriously rich. But, oh, it is so good! The question is, do I call it gelato or ice cream?
Notes: If you don’t happen to have any sugar-free raspberry liqueur on hand, you can add some raspberry-flavoured vodka. Or you can skip it altogether, but it does help the consistency. And you will want some raspberry extract to to really get that raspberry chocolate flavour. For the additional raspberries, I suggest using frozen so they don’t get crushed when you stir them in.