At my kids suggestion, I kicked off summer this year with a new Cusinart ice cream machine. Seriously, best decision ever made. The motivation; our family trip to Copenhagen last Spring. The food scene in this charming little city is truly amazing. From fine dining, to street food, the Danes are absolutely killing it.
While visiting Copenhagen, my younger son (who is a true sweetaholic), could not get enough of their delicious local artisanal ice cream. Luckily for him, we were staying near one of Copenhagen’s most loved and well-known ice cream parlors, Vaffelbageren which opened daily on the early side. Grabbing a freshly made waffle cone topped with a few scoops of ice cream quickly became a routine as we set out to explore for the day.
My son is somewhat chocolate obsessed, and his love affair with classic chocolate ice cream has always been strong. But the tide changed a bit in Copenhagen when he tried Stracciatella for the very first time. For those unfamiliar, Stracciatella is similar to chocolate chip ice cream–but is is by no means the same. The base is rich, creamy and indulgent and the bittersweet chocolate flakes are so delicate that they dissolve in your mouth almost instantly making this flavor so distinct.
Stracciatella, translates to “rags” or “shards“, which are woven into is a flavorful vanilla custard-like ice cream in a slightly untraditional way. Unlike American chocolate chip ice cream, Stracciatella is made by drizzling a fine stream of melted chocolate directly into the churning vanilla custard. As a result, the chocolate solidifies on contact, freezing it into delicate flakes that fuse with the ice cream and literally melt in your mouth instantly upon eating. My son was hooked and so was I.
It is said Scratchatella originated in Bergamo, in Northern Italy, at the Ristorante La Marianna in the early 1960’s. Stracciatella ice cream was actually inspired by Stracciatella soup, an Italian version of egg drop soup which is a popular dish throughout Rome. To this day Stracciatella remains one of the most renowned Italian gelato flavors in the world.
Stracciatella was the first of several ice creams I made on my new machine and it did not disappoint. With its decadent base and its delicate crunchy chocolate texture, I had successfully recreated the ultimate indulgence from our vacation so worthy you could justify having it for breakfast, at least if you asked my son that is.
A note on gelato and ice cream:
“Gelato” is the Italian word for “ice cream”. Although it starts out with a similar custard base as ice cream, gelato has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs (sometimes having no eggs at all). Gelato is churned at a much slower rate than ice cream which incorporates less air and leaves the gelato denser than ice cream. Gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream giving it a silkier, softer texture.
Stracciatella Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup organic light corn syrup
- 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scrapped
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- dash of salt
- Step 1 In a medium saucepan add the heavy cream, milk, corn syrup and vanilla bean (pods and seeds). Place over a low heat and bring to a simmer while whisking often. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Step 2 In a medium mixing bowl add the egg yolks and sugar, whisk until pale yellow in color. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture, in a slow steady stream. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, over a low flame until a thick custard forms and a thermometer register 170-175 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Remove the custard from the heat and stain in a fine strainer into a clean mixing bowl. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Step 3 Once the custard has chilled, remove form the refrigerator and process the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Step 4 When the consistency of the ice cream is similar to soft-serve, melt the chocolate, add the salt and pour very slowly into the ice cream while it’s churning. Note: the easiest way to do this is to place the melted chocolate in a quart-size plastic bag and make a small cut on one corner. When the melted chocolate hits the cold ice cream is will solidify into small pieces. Continue freezing the ice cream until it’s completely solid, about 20-25 minutes more depending on your machine.
- Step 5 Place the ice ice cream into a freezer friendly container and freeze for at least 2 hours.