Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lowish Casein Ice Cream, you say? Blueberry ricotta gelato for a hot summer's day

Yes, it's summertime, and most of the country has been swaddled in a heat wave. Here in the Northwest, however, we've been stuck in an endless rotation of "almost 60" rainy days and drizzle all June. But sunnier weather lies ahead, I stubbornly insist. So I wanted to share a gluten-free, lower-casein ice cream recipe. This is not appropriate for people who are allergic to dairy, but if you are sensitive to casein but not lactose, like I am, it works wonderfully to give me an ice-cream like experience in summertime (without the stomachache.)
For the truly dairy-free, I recommend the lovely gluten-free Coconut sorbet from the brand Double Rainbow. Delicious, and the consistently is exactly like real ice cream (the secret is that the main ingredient is coconut cream.) I believe that this sorbet is safely all dairy-free for those of you with allergies - you would be surprised how many sorbets still have traces of dairy in them! (Why?) And it's delicious sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings!

OK, onward to this recipe which I've altered somewhat from a British magazine recipe that I transcribed ages ago. (Gluten-free hint: British Magazines are a great source of gluten-free recipes for some reason. They just eat naturally more gluten-free desserts, for one: meringues, jellies, and custards are all gluten-free.)  

The secret to this recipe's wonderful texture is the gelatin, which sounds really like a weird step in an ice-cream making process but trust me, it yields great results. I also have a variation without the gelatin (for vegan friends) or whipping cream...

Blueberry Ricotta Gelato

·         1 packet (1/4 oz) powdered gelatin
·         1 cup ripe blueberries
·         3/4 cup sugar
·         16 oz ricotta cheese (drained)
·         1 cup heavy whipping cream

1.        Bloom the gelatin in 3 Tablespoons of cold water for 5 minutes.
2.        Stir 1/2 of this gelatin mixture into 1/4 cup hot water (or heat gently over a double boiler or carefully in the microwave) until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Discard the remaining gelatin.
3.        In the food processor, blend the ricotta cheese until smooth, and then add the blueberries, sugar, and gelatin, blending after each addition until creamy.
4.        Beat the cream until thick (not stiff), and then fold in the blueberry mixture.
5.        Churn in an ice cream maker to the desired consistency (check the manufacturer's directions).
Note: I had to 1/2 this recipe because I have a small ice cream maker--the kind with the container that you pre-freeze.)
6.        Serve when set, or place in a chilled container and freeze (this gelato freezes pretty hard, so you will need to thaw slightly before serving).

I  tried it again without the gelatin or whipping cream, but adding eight ounces of cream cheese. (I do well with both ricotta and cream cheese, which tend to be a little lower in casein.) This was a great variation - a great, cheese-cake-y taste and consistency! So go for either one!