2 scoops of hazelnut gelato in a sundae glass

RICH HAZELNUT GELATO

Hazelnut is the introvert of gelatos. Too often it’s thought of as merely chocolate’s partner in Gianduja, Bacio, and Nutella. We forget that hazelnut has its own gelato identity. And it’s glorious.

Many home recipes call for infusing the dairy by soaking the hazelnuts for 30minutes to 3 hours. I found the results to be unreliable. At best there was a mild hazelnut flavor.

To get that intense nut flavor found in artisanal gelaterias, I turned to the tried and true method I use for Pistachio and Peanut Butter gelato. The trick is to emulsify nut paste with a hot liquid sugar before adding it to the base. It sounds advanced, but really all this means is heating up sugar and water until it’s boiling then pouring it into a running mixer with the nut paste.

HAZELNUT PASTE

I believe it’s easier to find good hazelnut paste than good hazelnuts (too often they are flavorless or rancid from sitting on the shelf for too long) No need to spend a fortune. Hazelnut paste from the Piemonte region is the gold standard but I find that less expensive varieties can be amazing as well. The one sacrosanct rule is that it must be 100% hazelnuts – no other ingredients. Any additional sugars or fillers will affect the texture and freezing point of the gelato.

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RICH HAZELNUT GELATO

You can make pro-quality Rich Hazelnut Gelato at home.  For real.  No fancy culinary tricks.  All it takes are the right ingredients plus a bit of effort.   You’ll be rewarded with a gelato that has the magically smooth texture and intense flavor found in Italian gelaterias. 

  • Author: MJ

Ingredients

HAZELNUT CREAM

  •   70g water
  •   43g sugar 
  •   37g organic corn syrup
  • 100g 100% hazelnut paste*

GELATO

  • 627g whole milk
  • 125g cream 
  • 159g sugar
  •   49g non-fat milk powder
  •     6g tapioca starch
  •   34g organic corn syrup
  • salt to taste

Instructions

HAZELNUT CREAM

Make sure the hazelnut paste is very thoroughly blended (no separation of oil & solids) BEFORE measuring.  Put 100g hazelnut paste into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally.  As soon as the mixture reaches a boil (or 212 degrees on a candy thermometer)  immediately start the mixer on low and slowly pour the hot liquid in.

Stay on low for 30 seconds then mix on high until the hazelnut cream is thick and completely cool (when you touch the sides of the bowl it should be close to room temperature)  Cover and refrigerate. 

GELATO

Combine sugar, non-fat milk powder, and tapioca starch. Mix the milk and cream in a large bowl.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Thoroughly incorporate the corn syrup, being sure to scrape all of it into the bowl.  

COOK

Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Heat until bubbles start forming around the edges but do not let it come to a full rolling boil.  Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks.  In the last few minutes mix a bit faster as the mixture begins to thicken. 

Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.

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 an ice bath.

CURE

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

CHURN

Mix hazelnut cream, salt, and gelato together with an immersion blender (or regular blender) until completely incorporated. Process the gelato in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

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)

Notes

  • 100% hazelnut paste – make sure the only ingredients are hazelnut and perhaps hazelnut oil
  • I like about ½ to 1 tsp of salt to bring out the nut flavor – if in doubt start with ¼ tsp and add a little until you’re satisfied

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