The best gelato di riso I tasted was from Gelateria Il Fantino in Camp Bisenzio, near Florence. Since Guido Ballerini wouldn’t part with his recipe, I tried to re-create it using a simple vanilla base. It is best to use long-grain rice; it has less starch, so the grains don’t stick together when cooking.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, chill your gelato base mixture well in a stainless steel bowl in the freezer. When partially frozen, beat the mixture with a wire whisk until it is creamy. Return the bowl to the freezer and repeat the process again once or twice.–Pamela Sheldon Johns
Florentine Rice Gelato Recipe
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes, not including cooling, churning, and chilling | Makes 2 quarts
- 6 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed well
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1. In a large saucepan, heat 4 cups of the milk. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rice and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently and mixing any skin that forms back into the mixture. The rice will be very tender, and the mixture will have thickened. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to keep it from clumping.
- 2. Stir in the cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk, the salt, and vanilla bean, scraping the seeds from the pod into the milk. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla pod. Cover to keep hot.
- 3. In a blender or food processor, beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the egg yolks together until very thick. Gradually add the hot milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
- 4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and set the pan in a bowl of ice water. Stir for 2 minutes to cool the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled.
- 5. Stir the rice and nutmeg into the custard. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Florentine Rice Gelato Recipe © 2008 Pamela Sheldon Johns. Photo © 2008 Joyce Oudkerk Pool. All rights reserved.