Computational behavior theory and cultural evolution

Triple Coffee Gelato

The most common problem with coffee gelato is its consistency: adding coffee means taking out either milk or cream, which often results in a icy rather than creamy texture (even at professional Italian gelaterie). My solution is to use coffee concentrate. I use a Moka pot, the Italian standard way of making coffee in the house, and I concentrate the coffee by re-cycling the water through the machine for multiple brewing cycles, each time replacing the used coffee grounds with fresh coffee. For this recipe I use what is marketed in Italy as a “3 serving” machine, yelding about 1/2 cup of coffee. I re-cycle 3 times, hence the name of this recipe. The base gelato recipe is from here.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sucrose and 1/4 cup glucose (why glucose?)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coffee concentrate (see below)

Heat up the milk, sugar and vanilla extract in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. In a bowl, stir the egg yolks until homogeneous, then pour the warm milk over them stirring constantly. Scrape everything back into the saucepan and cook (without boiling) for a few minutes, stirring continuously with a spatula until the mixture coats the spatula. Let cool (or not), add the heavy cream and the coffee concentrate, and pour in the gelato maker.

Variations: I often complement this gelato with toffeed nuts. Melt 1/2 stick of butter with 1/4 cup sugar and let go on high heat until the mixture starts to brown. Browning happens fast, so be on your guard. To verify that the toffee is ready, drop a drop in cold water cup. It’s ready when it solidifies into a hard lump. Then you pour the toffee on parchment paper, add the nuts (I use pecans) and let cool in the freezer to make the whole thing brittle. Mix the nuts in when the gelato is fresh out of the machine. After discovering this variation, I am not making plain coffee gelato again.

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