One of my top favorite towns in Italy that I absolutely loved from the moment we stepped off the train was Sorrento. Sorrento is a small town in Campania, southern Italy. It was one of the most beautiful and captivating beach-side towns filled with happy tourists of all ages, excellent boutique shops, and one of the ideal picturesque-towns in Southern Italy. Sorrento is widely known for their vast Meyer lemon groves and they use it for the production of limoncello – Italian hard liquor. Plus, if you walked anywhere in the neighborhood boutique shops, they would hand out shots of limoncello to enjoy. (Oh boy, it was so awesome!)
My first taste of real Italian gelato was at Gelateria Primavera, a neighborhood favorite, where they whip up at least 70 fresh flavors daily. Picking a flavor or two of gelato to enjoy can be a little difficult if you love everything sweet but luckily I had a couple samples of the noce (walnut) and pistachio and a couple more. Yet, despite all the tasty flavors like Belen Belen, Rum Baba, Ferrer Rocher - I fell deep in love with crema di limone. Luscious and not too tangy with tiny bits of lemon and silky like a creamy lemon cheesecake but oh so indulgent. It knocked my socks off for sure.
This wonderful recipe is reminiscent of my beloved Italian Lemon gelato from Sorrento, and best served in a small bowl or waffle cone. I paired my Lemon Gelato with a pistachio and dried-cherry biscotti (I will post the recipe for this tomorrow) for the ultimate Italian dessert.
Creamy Lemon Gelato
Adapted from Bell’alimento
½ cup lemon zest (6 lemons)
1 cup lemon juice
6 egg yolks
1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
2 ½ cups half and half
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 ¼ cups sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and heavy cream together until combined. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat with a candy thermometer attached, warm the half and half, lemon zest and sugar until the thermometer reads 175 degrees. Stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
Temper the hot milk mixture with the egg mixture, using about ½ cup or more. Gradually add the tempered egg yolk mixture with the milk mixture and stir to combine. Return to medium heat and cook until the thermometer reads 190 degrees or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste and lemon juice.
Allow the mixture to cool, and cover with saran wrap and place into the refrigerator to cool completely. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturing instructions.
Yield: 1 ½ quarts
Review: It’s incredibly rich and sinful, it’s like having a lemon cheesecake ice cream., but so much better. Homemade gelato is almost as good as the Italian gelato that I enjoyed in Sorrento. Did you know that July is National Ice Cream month? I had posted about my Lemon Sorbet last week, and totally forgot that this month we celebrate wonderful ice cream. I have a couple more ice cream recipes to share within the next week or so. Be on the lookout for more sinful treats!