Gelato de Crema Recipe | Cook the Book

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Although at first bite gelato might seem richer than traditional ice cream, it actually contains less butterfat—it's made from mostly milk instead of cream. So how does it get that dense, rich texture? There's significantly less air whipped into it during the freezing process. According to The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto, the extra fat in ice cream can mask the flavor of the ice cream, giving less fatty gelato the advantage when it comes to flavor clarity and intensity.

This Gelato de Crema acts as a base for many of the gelato recipes in The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto, but frozen on its own, this is a wonderful introduction into the subtle differences between ice cream and gelato. Without the buttery richness of a base made entirely of cream, this custard allows the delicate flavors of milk, egg yolks, and sugar to come through. The sugar is kept to a minimum, giving the gelato a clean, austere sharp flavor with none of the cloying qualities of an overly sugared scoop of vanilla.

Recipe Details

Gelato de Crema Recipe | Cook the Book

Cook 15 mins
Churning/Freezing Time 6 hrs 30 mins
Total 6 hrs 45 mins
Serves 8 servings
Makes 1 quart


  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 2/3 cup sugar


  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F.

  2. Meanwhile, in a heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually mix in the sugar until it is incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the eggs by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185°F. Do not bring to a boil.

  3. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

  4. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Special equipment

ice cream machine

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
246 Calories
16g Fat
21g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 246
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 156mg 52%
Sodium 71mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 146mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)