I’m going to take a break from Piemonte and Italy for a post to share my Father’s Day recipe with you. Yes, it has an Italian name, gelato, but I call it that not because it is at all an Italian recipe, but because by definition it is too lean to be ice cream and too fatty to be ice milk. What’s in between? Gelato.
Of course, gelato is certainly EVERYWHERE in Italy. It was almost as predictably easy to find as wine, pasta and pizza. We ate a lot of it too. When the kids got a little edgy or needed a break, there was always a gelato shop nearby to make everything better again. I learned I liked salted pistachio gelato and Little Guy learned he liked caramel.
But this is not that post. This post is about a lighter version of something very American; Father’s Day, Summer and Ice cream. I pulled the basis for this recipe out of my June issue of Cooking Light as something I needed to make. That recipe was served with a spicy peanut brittle. I tried it and loved the ice cream and the idea of the brittle but hated the tingly spiciness of it. Sorry, I’m just not much of spicy dessert lover. I made it a second time with a straight-up cashew brittle instead and a few other tweaks, and now I have a new favorite summer dessert.
Hubby is a die-hard chocoholic. If I serve him a dessert without chocolate in it, he just gives me a funny look and usually turns up his nose. So, when it comes to Father’s day, there is always chocolate. Good chocolate ice cream is hard to find. Most store-bought chocolate ice creams don’t really taste of chocolate, and the ones that do are usually so over-the-top in fat and calories that they are limited to only the most special of occasions. While Father’s day is certainly a special occasion, it’s still nice to find a frozen chocolate dessert that lacks the guilt but has the chocolate flavor. Because hubby is not a huge nut fan, I loved that this was served with the brittle on the side. The kids and I can load up on the crunchy cashew brittle, and hubby can enjoy the real chocolate flavor that he really digs. You will too. Enjoy and happy Father’s day!
- 2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder mixed with 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup lightly salted cashews, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Mix one tablespoon corn starch with 1/4 cup of the milk. Set aside. Mix remaining milk, half and half, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed pan and set over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer stirring frequently. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until the mixture simmers again and thickens. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl.
- In another small sauce pan combine the instant espresso mixed with water, cocoa powder and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir constantly over medium heat until it simmers and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the solid chocolate. Stir until melted and then mix into the milk mixture. Place the gelato mixture in a bowl set over a larger bowl filled with ice water. Stir frequently until the mixture is room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours.
- Prepare ice cream maker and freeze the gelato according to your ice cream maker's instructions. When the gelato is done, transfer it to a freezer safe bowl and freeze until you are ready to serve.
- Prepare a pan by lining a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick liner.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir until just combined and heat over medium heat. When the mixture starts to boil, add the cashews and continue to cook stirring only once or twice until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees or until the mixture starts to caramelize and turn dark around the edges. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir vigorously until the baking soda is mixed in, then pour onto a prepared pan spreading the mixture out to a thin layer while it is still very hot. Allow to cool completely then use a mallet or heavy pan to break the brittle up into small pieces, leaving a few larger pieces for garnish.
- Serve the ice cream with a spoonful or two of the brittle pieces with a larger piece for garnish. Enjoy.