a dish of chocolate orange gelato


Chocolate and orange is a relationship that has worked for 500 years-ish. And it’s still going strong.

It was probably in the late 1500’s when orange water was first combined with chocolate for Spanish Royalty. Chocolate was kind of Spain’s special secret for a century until the great French chocolate explosion around 1650. After that, all the fabulously wealthy wanted a piece. Nearly 400 years later, we can all eat like kings.

recipe q&a

What’s the deal with grinding zest with sugar?

It helps release the orange oils into the sugar. Don’t overdo it, just a pulse or two is fine.

But why strain it out?

Leaving it in will make the gelato texture gritty. If you don’t mind small bits of zest in your gelato, go for it.

Do I really have to do that?

Nope. For a less intense orange flavor leave the peel whole and take it out after cooking.

Candied orange peel as a mix-in? But you just said strain out the orange zest.

Strain out the zest because it’s gritty and honestly after being steeping in the hot dairy, all the good stuff has been leached out. Candied orange peel is a different thing – it’s been cooked in a sugar syrup and adds wonderful chewy (even when frozen) orange chunks to every bite.

My favorite is candied bitter Sicilian oranges, the gelato ends up having sweet orange and bitter orange notes running through the chocolate gelato. Yum. Add or don’t add it. The gelato is great either way.



This chocolate orange gelato is an amazing flavor bomb that is unforgettable!   Fresh orange zest, rich dark chocolate, and cream are a combination that goes back hundreds of years.  Originally made for kings and queens hundreds of years ago, you can now eat like royalty too! 

  • Author: MJ


  • 202g  sugar
  •      1     orange 
  •   34g  non-fat milk powder
  •   27g  cocoa powder*
  •   20g  tapioca starch
  • 617g   whole milk
  • 192g   heavy cream
  •  36g   corn syrup
  •  30g   egg yolks
  •  59g   chocolate 65% (finely chopped) *
  •  candied orange zest chopped (optional)



  1. Prepare an ice bath.
  2. Put the finely chopped chocolate into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Peel off the zest of the orange being careful to avoid the white pith (you should have about 20g of zest). Blitz the zest with the sugar in a food processor.  After two or three pulses, the zest should be chopped but still recognizable and the sugar should be slightly damp with citrus oil – the smell will be incredible. 


  1. Combine orange sugar, non-fat milk powder, cocoa powder, and tapioca starch. Mix milk and cream in a large bowl.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Thoroughly incorporate the corn syrup and egg yolks.


  1. Place the mixture in a medium saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes at medium-high. Heat until bubbles start forming around the edges but do not let it come to a full rolling boil.  Keep stirring the mixture.  In the last few minutes, the gelato will thicken. 
  2. Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer (straining out the orange zest)  into the bowl with the finely chopped chocolate.  Let it sit for 3-5 minutes then mix vigorously, scraping the melted chocolate off the bottom.  It may take a few minutes of mixing before the chocolate is completely incorporated (there should be no visible pieces of the chopped chocolate left) 
  3. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into the ice bath.


  1. After the gelato has cooled, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.


  1. Give the gelato a quick stir with an immersion blender or whisk then process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.   Just before the gelato is ready, add in the bits of candied orange (if using)
  2. The gelato is finished when it reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes on most machines) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)



  • Cocoa powder with 20-22% fat content will give the best results but a powder with 10% (or greater) fat content will work.
  • Chocolate should be very finely chopped so it melts evenly and quickly into the hot gelato mix.

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