I have always loved the flavour of blood oranges. They are sweet and have that punch of citrus that is so refreshing. I first tried blood orange gelato when I was in Italy years ago. Whenever I visited a gelateria here in Toronto, I would always search for this particular flavour so I could be transported back to Italy. It’s not hard to come by however it does taste rather unique. I tried to recreate this interesting flavour at home and my version turned out completely different than what I was used to. The blood orange gelato I was used to eating was more of a sherbet and very tangy. It was almost artificial tasting which I came to realize after I experimented with it myself. I like my version a lot – when I attempted making the flavour using a standard ice cream base, the result was a deliciously creamsicle-like gelato. It has that subtle tanginess of blood oranges and is very refreshing.
Blood oranges are only in season for a very short period of time. For this particular batch I had a friend bring me some back from her trip to Italy. My father also brought me back a quart of freshly squeezed blood orange juice from Florida – the home of the orange. I had a craving and I had to satisfy it so I tried to get my hands on as much as I could! I used the zest of a regular orange to infuse the cream since I couldn’t get my hands on blood oranges at this time of year (I also filtered out the zest afterward since I am not a fan of zest in my gelato).
Blood oranges will be out soon enough so make sure that you grab a bunch from the market so that you can try my dreamy gelato recipe! Join me in my quest to eat gelato every day!
- Zest of one blood orange (or use an orange if blood oranges are not available)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sugar, divided into ½ cup portions
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided into 1 cup portions
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ quart freshly squeezed blood orange juice (Will get 2 cups of reduced blood orange syrup)
- Make your blood orange syrup, in a saucepan, add 4 cups of freshly squeezed blood orange juice and ½ cup of sugar. Cook until reduced by half and the juice is syrupy (about 30-40 minutes). Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. Put it into the refrigerator until later. (I used freshly squeezed juice from my local market but you can buy blood oranges and juice them yourself. You will need about 8 to get 4 cups of blood orange juice).
- Combine the zest, 1 cup of cream and milk to a heavy bottomed saucepot and heat on medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil. Put the lid on the pot and take it off the heat. Let the zest infuse into the cream for 30 minutes.
- Re-heat the cream and zest mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they are pale yellow. Using a ladle, add one ladle of hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture and whisk (this will bring up the heat of the eggs without cooking them). Scrape the warmed egg mixture into the saucepan and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Have an ice-water bath ready. Remove saucepan from heat and immediately stir in remaining heavy cream. Pass mixture through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Place bowl in ice-water bath and bring the mixture to at least room temperature and refrigerate until very cold (at least 5 hours).
- Add the cold blood orange syrup to the custard and stir until fully incorporated. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to churn and freeze your ice cream. Put it into a freezer safe container to have it fully set (about 3 hours). Homemade gelato is best served fresh. This gelato will keep for about 2-3 days in an airtight container in the freezer.