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Now you can make Ciao Bella's amazing gelato (Italian ice cream) at home! This rich, custardy base is the starting point for many recipes. But it's also good enough to be made into gelato by itself, and in fact in Italy, where it is known as gelato de crema, it often is. The recipe is from "The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto," by F.W. Pearce & Danilo Zecchin.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees.
- Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper egg yolks by very slowly pouring in hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return custard to saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees. Do not bring to a boil.
- Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. To cool custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Makes enough for about 1 quart (or 4 cups) of gelato.