Cooking with Maine Women Writers: maple gelato

This post was intended for maple syrup season, way back in the spring. But life got in the way, maple syrup season ended and the post remained forgotten. Then summer came along – the perfect time for gelato! – but with summer comes family barbecues, beach days, and hot weather. I don’t know about you, but hot weather generally means I’m not up for spending time at the stove. And despite this recipe being for a delicious frozen treat, there is some standing at the stove involved. Not a lot, mind you, but some. Even some is too much for me when it’s 85 degrees in my kitchen and the cool waters of our favorite swimming spot are calling my name.

Complicating matters, I don’t actually own an ice cream maker, which you will need to make this recipe.

However, at the end of the summer, at one of those family barbecues, an aunt came forward with an ice cream maker she’d never used! She’d seen a Facebook post of mine back in the spring asking to borrow an ice cream maker (for this very recipe) and remembered, all these months later.

So, with no other excuses to be made, I decided to finally get down to business and make myself (and my family if they were lucky) some maple gelato.

The recipe was published in Portland, Maine Chef’s Table by Margaret Hathaway, a beautiful cookbook containing recipes from nearly 50 of Portland’s wonderful restaurants. Think Otto’s mashed potato, bacon and scallion pizza, Silly’s fried pickles, and Duckfat’s pork belly “BLT,” to name a few of my personal favorites. There are a multitude of others, including this one – Maine maple gelato from Maple’s Organic.

Maine Maple Gelato
makes about 1 quart

  • 1 cup maple syrup, darkest available
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a heatproof bowl, beat together maple syrup and egg yolks until the mixture is noticeably lightened in color. Set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and sea salt to a boil, then remove from heat. Whisking rapidly to prevent the eggs from scrambling, stream about 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Stream this mixture back into the remaining hot milk, again whisking rapidly. Add the cream, mix thoroughly, and refrigerate for several hours. When thoroughly chilled, freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions in the ice cream maker of your choice.

So after freezing our ice cream bowl, per manufacturer instructions, and making this delicious ice cream mixture, turns out the never-been-used ice cream maker we had been given…doesn’t work. Oh no! What’s a gelato-loving girl to do? Our mixture was already starting to freeze in the bowl, so we just turned the insert by hand. Sure, it’s not as automatic as simply turning it on and coming back in under 30 minutes to a perfectly frozen creamy treat, but it worked. Mostly. After a short stint in the freezer to firm it up some more, it was pretty much perfect. (And by perfect, I mean it was sort of icy. I blame operator error, not the recipe.) But! It was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I never had a chance to take any photos of it! I always like to accompany my blog posts (especially food posts) with a lovely photo, but our photo subject in this case didn’t stick around long enough.

As we head into fall, I suppose I’ll have to start searching our collection for some fall-inspired recipes! But first I’m going to enjoy every last moment of this beautiful summer. Gelato, anyone?

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