One of the best flavors of gelato is a simple chocolate chip. Called stracciatella in Italian, this gelato is a combination of normal fior di latte gelato with strands of dark, brittle chocolate. And in this guide I’ll teach you the absolute best way to get those signature strands in your homemade stracciatella gelato.
Stracciatella translates to ‘little shred’ in Italian and is actually named after the famous soup. The soup of course trickles beaten egg into hot broth for its strands. In stracciatella gelato the method of incorporating the signature chips was invented in Bergamo in 1961 at Ristorante La Marianna.
Many people think this is just the Italian version of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips; but that could not be further from the truth. Yes, it is easy to say that gelato and ice cream are different but a real stracciatella has no vanilla at all! Instead it uses a base of fior di latte. This type of gelato is the most basic (and one of the oldest) kind you can make – with just raw milk and sugar.
What You’ll Need
As with all of my recipes on Scoops of Delight, you need an ice cream machine. The exact style and brand does not matter too much but you do want one that is decent quality. I personally use the Smeg Ice Cream Maker. The only issue with it is that you need to already have a Smeg Stand Mixer – which can be quite pricey. While there are plenty of recipes for no-churn gelatos, I often find a properly churned gelato magnitudes better.
Some other things you will need for this homemade gelato recipe are:
- Mixing Bowls
- Wire Whisk
- Steel Pan (I personally find steel the best for making gelato, but you can use any as long as you are careful about the temperature).
- Rubber Spatula
- Sealable Container (The best thing to use to store homemade gelato is plastic in my opinion. You want something that is more flat than tall as it provides more surface area to quickly freeze in a home freezer).
- Fine Mesh Sieve
- Blender (I use a stick blender, but you can use a juicer or regular blender as well)
- Kitchen Scale (optional, but recommended as almost all of my recipes use metric as it is more precise than imperial for most home cooks).
How To Make Homemade Stracciatella Gelato
Being one of the easiest gelati to make, stracciatella only requires a few ingredients. However I add a few more ingredients (3) to really enhance a homemade stracciatella and bring it closer to what you’d get at a gelateria in Italy.
500 ml Milk (3.5% fat. Ideally you should use raw milk but as that is hard for many people your normal grocery store full fat will be fine. )
250 ml Heavy Cream (36% fat)
200 grams Sugar (you can lower this if you want it less sweet, just note the lower your sugar the more ‘milky’ the final gelato will taste’
100 grams Dark Chocolate (64% dark or higher. I use Callebaut recipe 70-30-38 which is a high quality chocolate – although a bit on the expensive end)
1 tbsp Refined Coconut Oil (You can also use unrefined if you prefer, but it may impart a bit of a coconut flavor which I don’t particularly want in my stracciatella)
8 grams Sunflower Lecithin Powder (I add this to give the gelato thickness instead of egg yolks or corn starch, but you can make gelato without any of those ingredients so you can consider this optional. Lecithin in ice cream is not a controversial additive as it already occurs naturally in egg yolks).
0.8 grams Xantham Gum (this gum does a few things which make homemade ice cream and gelato better. The first of which is that it reduces the size of the ice crystals that form during churning and freezing for a more creamy mouthfeel. Another is that it slows down the melting speed so you do not have to worry about it melting as you bring it from the kitchen to your couch. You can buy it here).
The first thing to do is to whisk your lecithin with 150 grams of the sugar. This will make for easier absorption. Then just add it to the milk and cream and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Mix the other 50 grams of sugar with the xantham gum. After the milk/cream has hydrated the lecithin, add in the sugar/gum mix and blitz it well with a stick or immersion blender. All done. Place the stracciatella base in the fridge to chill completely (although it should already be pretty cold so you might only need 10-15 more minutes.
Churn your stracciatella gelato base according to your machine’s instructions. For example my machine takes about 40 minutes on the lowest speed setting.
The secret to getting the perfect stracciatella chocolate strands is actually very easy. Place your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for a minute. Then add in the coconut oil and stir until you have a nice smooth mix.
Once your base has churned to a soft serve consistency you can add the chocolate. I just put it in a little bag and cut off the corner to squirt it in. You should do this while the machine is churning because the chocolate hardens as soon as it hits the cold gelato. This is the same method I use when making my delicious mint chip ice cream.
Ok…I cut the hole too big and made a mess. Oops. But as you can see, the chocolate that did end up making it into the gelato ‘shredded’ perfectly!
Move your fresh stracciatella gelato to a sealable container and place it in your freezer to set. Everyone’s freezer is different so it can take anywhere from a couple hours to overnight.
- 500 ml Milk 3.5% fat. Ideally you should use raw milk but as that is hard for many people your normal grocery store full fat will be fine.
- 250 ml Heavy Cream 36% fat
- 200 grams Sugar (you can lower this if you want it less sweet just note the lower your sugar the more 'milky' the final gelato will taste'
- 100 grams Dark Chocolate 64% dark or higher. I use Callebaut recipe 70-30-38 which is a high quality chocolate – although a bit on the expensive end
- 1 tbsp Refined Coconut Oil You can also use unrefined if you prefer, but it may impart a bit of a coconut flavor which I don’t particularly want in my stracciatella
- 8 grams Sunflower Lecithin Powder I add this to give the gelato thickness instead of egg yolks or corn starch, but you can make gelato without any of those ingredients so you can consider this optional. Lecithin in ice cream is not a controversial additive as it already occurs naturally in egg yolks.
- 0.8 grams Xantham Gum this gum does a few things which make homemade ice cream and gelato better. The first of which is that it reduces the size of the ice crystals that form during churning and freezing for a more creamy mouthfeel. Another is that it slows down the melting speed so you do not have to worry about it melting as you bring it from the kitchen to your couch. You can buy it here.
- Mix the lecithin with 150 grams of the sugar.
- Add the lecithin/sugar mix to a jar or container with the milk and cream. Whisk well to combine, or use an immersion blender. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to fully hydrate the lecithin.
- Mix the xantham gum with the rest of the sugar.
- Pull the liquid base from the fridge. Add in the gum/sugar mix and blend with the immersion blender until fully combined. Place back in the fridge to chill for another 15 minutes.
- Set up your ice cream machine and add the liquid base. Run according to manufacturer's instructions.
- In the last 5 minutes of churning make the chocolate portion. Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Pull it out and add the coconut oil and mix everything in.
- While the ice cream machine is churning your stracciatella, slowly trickle in the chocolate. It will harden and 'shred' as soon as it comes in contact with the cold gelato. Once all the chocolate is incorporated, move it to a sealable container and place it in the freezer to set. Enjoy!
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