For the Love of Ice Cream by Robin Nathan

ice-creamIce cream has always been my and my family’s favorite treat. When I was a kid in LA, we’d drive over to “31 Flavors” (it was just a local chain, back then) after dinner. I still remember each flavor my sister, brother, and parents ordered. For me, it was a toss up between Jamoca Almond Fudge (I have always loved coffee flavor!), Mint Chip, or if I was feeling competitive, Bubble Gum — my siblings and I would save and count up our bubblegum pieces to see who got the most!

These days, ice cream still tops my dessert list, as you know if you’ve ever had a class with me. Because there are so many really high quality ice creams commercially available, I prefer not making a flavor that I could buy. When I plan to make ice cream, it’s got to be something you can’t find anywhere else. Tiramisu, Goat Cheese, Blueberry-Lavender, Salted Caramel, Toasted Almond, these are the flavors I dream about as a grown up.  

For years, I used a Donvier ice cream maker.  Introduced in the mid 1980s, it was one of the first to use a quick freeze insert, and although it had to be hand-cranked, it produced fantastic, soft-serve ice cream in about 30 minutes.  I used that thing until it fell apart – just last year – and purchased a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker at Marcel’s.  I LOVE the Cuisinart!! It features the same quick freeze insert (I keep mine in the freezer at all times), but instead of hand cranking on and off for 30 minutes, you simply plug it in and it does all the work for you. Amazing! My only regret is that my old Donvier didn’t give out sooner!   

Here’s one of the simplest ice cream recipes there is – no custard involved – but the results will blow you away. Enjoy! 

Tiramisu Gelato

Makes about 1 ½ Quarts
2 C. Mascarpone cheese (usually 2 containers)
1 1/3 C. Half and half
¾ C. Sugar
¼ C. Very strong cold espresso coffee
1 T. Brandy
Pinch of salt
½ C. Unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine all the ingredients, except the cocoa powder in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour into a metal bowl set over a larger metal bowl of ice.  Stir occasionally for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is very cold. Scrape contents into your ice cream maker and process according to your manufacturer’s instructions. 

Spoon one third of the churned mixture into your storage container and sprinkle with a layer of the cocoa powder.  Cover with another third and a topping of cocoa powder. Create the last layer and top with remaining cocoa powder.  Cover and freeze until firm.

Temper slightly when ready to serve.

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