Fennel Gelato w/ Fennel Fronds

Last weekend I had a bunch of friends over for a fall feast that was 3 days in the making. We had a great time filling our bellies! On the menu was a 6 1/2 pound grass fed beef brisket from Missouri. The brisket was braised in the oven at a low temperature for 6 hours with a potpourri of veggies and mushrooms which created a delicious broth.  Two sauces were made that are traditionally serve w/ braised meats at the fair of the fatted ox in Piedmont, Italy (one is a tomato based sauce, the other is a horseradish based sauce). I made a pizza for my vegetarian friend and used the remaining dough to make bread to go with the brisket. For dessert I churned up a fennel gelato and served it w/ a bottle of nice cognac and fortune cookies.  The consensus from my friends was the fennel gelato is one of the best flavors I’ve created so far. It was a beautiful crisp fall evening so we all went outside after dessert to light a fire in the chimenea and sip our cognac. We were having such a good time that we hung out for a few hours by the fire and nearly finished off the entire bottle of cognac!

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Fennel Gelato w/ Fennel Fronds

Ingredients:

1 fennel bulb thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fennel fronds – minced

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 quart half & half

Procedure:

1) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow

2) Place half & half and fennel  in a heavy pot and heat until scalded 

3) Pulse half & half  mixture in a food processor then strain out fennel

4) Very slowly whisk warm half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture

5) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously w/ a heat resistant spatula until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling

6) Once cool, refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight

7) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding the fennel fronds when mixture begins to thicken 
8) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container and quickly stir to evenly distribute the fennel fronds 
9) Place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on the surface of gelato (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of the gelato), seal container and freeze until firm
Yield: Approx. 1 1/2 quarts 
May you always be surrounded w/ good friends and good food!

 

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