Ricotta Gelato with Blackberry Syrup

I feel like I’ve taken a brief hiatus from my blog — after the excitement of returning from vacation and getting the kids ready for school, this is the week I’m finally breathing easier (oh, but going to my first yoga class in months might explain that).

Plus, I’ve been working on some exciting projects. I’m going to keep you in suspense for a little bit longer, but things are going be different both at my house and in my life, hopefully in all the best ways. But, for now here’s two clue words: cooking and income. Stay tuned.

Meantime, I made this INCREDIBLE gelato from the September 2007 Bon Appetit while I was in Maine, using rich, homestyle ricotta cheese I bought at Enoteca Italiano, a specialty food shop in Kittery. But I wasn’t happy with the picture I took — you know how that goes — so I made it again the other day. All I can say is that if you have an ice cream maker in your possession, or even if you know someone who does, get it out on the counter and make this!

The ingredient list is shorter than Polly Pocket’s miniskirt and couldn’t be easier to throw together. Here’s the one thing, though. Do NOT use plain old supermarket ricotta cheese. I bought some Sargento ricotta at my local store, since it was the only whole-milk choice they had. It wasn’t nearly as thick and wonderful as the first batch I made.

I called DiGregorio’s market here in St. Louis, and they sell a homemade-style ricotta made in Chicago which I will go out of my way to use next time. Also, Whole Foods sells “hand-dipped” ricotta ( which means nothing more than a WF employee scooping the cheese from large tubs into small bulk containers. I asked once.), which would work well, too. If really want to go all out, make your own with the creamiest milk you can find. Whole Foods has a recipe here.

Ricotta Gelato with Blackberry Syrup

1 pound fresh whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup simple syrup

Blackberry Syrup

3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Puree ricotta, milk and syrup in a food processor or blender until very smooth.
Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Place gelato in a freezer-proof container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Before serving, leave gelato at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften a bit.

To make syrup, place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; lower heat and cook uncovered until berries are soft, about 15 minutes. Press through a fine-meshed sieve set over a bowl, discard solids. Serve at room temperature, as the pectin in the berries will firm up if chilled.

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