This gelato is nothing like the leprechaun-green mint chip in the freezer section of your local grocery store. It uses fresh mint leaves for flavoring, rather than the artificial stuff. You’ll notice bright herbal notes, that some might call unusual or sophisticated, even adult, but the dark chocolate shavings give a creamy bowlful universal appeal. This is how mint ice cream should taste — when you think about it. Like real mint. We like to add chocolate cookie bits along with the dark chocolate shavings. You can never have too much chocolate. Never.
You’ll need an ice cream maker for this recipe (or check out David Lebovitz’s directions for making ice cream without the machine). And make sure the canister has been frozen for at least 24 hours before you get started.
(Makes approximately one quart)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups packed mint leaves
- Pinch of salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 4-6 ounces dark chocolate or chocolate chips
- Place half-and-half, milk, sugar, mint leaves and salt into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Warm the mixture very slowly, stirring frequently until bubbles start to form. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for one hour. Strain through a sieve into a bowl. Squeeze the milk out of the mint, into the bowl, and discard the leaves.
- Reheat the mixture (again over medium-low heat). Place cornstarch in a small bowl and add 3-4 tablespoons of the milk mixture to it to make a smooth, liquidy paste. Add the paste to the pan and whisk carefully to prevent lumps from forming. Heat until bubbles begin to form and mixture thickens. To test for doneness: coat the back of a spoon with milk mixture and run a finger across it. If a trail remains, the mixture is done cooking.
- Remove from heat and cool completely. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight is even better.
- Chop the chocolate into very small bits and shavings (see photo below).
- Place milk mixture into the canister of an electric ice cream maker. Process according to directions (usually about 25 minutes). During last 5 minutes, add the chocolate shavings.
- Remove gelato from the machine, place in a container and freeze for at least one to two hours before serving.