Gelato, the famous Italian ice cream, is considered by many to be the finest in the world. In the late 1600s Sicilian ice cream makers were famous throughout Italy, creating their frozen delicacies only for aristocratic households. It wasn't until the late 19th century that ice cream became available to the masses. It has less air incorporated into it than North American ice cream, which makes it much denser, allowing the core flavours to really shine through.
Decadent Chocolate Gelato Siciliano
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted to remove any lumps
Bring 2 cups of milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup milk with sugar, cornstarch and sifted cocoa in a bowl, then stir into the hot milk. Cook until the sugar and cocoa dissolve. Allow to cool, then cover with plastic and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Once chilled, process the mixture in an ice cream or gelato maker, as per manufacturer's instructions, although I ended up doubling the specified time to get the desired consistency.
To store, pour gelato into a plastic container, cover and place in the freezer until ready to serve. Gelato at a real gelateria is kept in special freezers so it doesn't freeze hard. You obviously won't be able to do this at home, so just take the gelato out 10-15 minutes before you plan to serve it, although it's best the day you make it.
Julia Roberts and two nuns eating gelato in 'Eat, Pray, Love'