Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Gelato with Salted Caramel Sauce & Candied Bacon


I consider myself incredibly blessed to be dating a handsome, driven, supportive man.  For the past five years (!), it has been amazingly comforting to know I have someone to make me laugh each and every day.

But, as with most relationships, there is just this one, nagging thing I desperately wish I could change about him.  He remains steadfast in his unwillingness to change, however, although not for lack of trying on my part.

It is not the fact that he consistently hangs his towel on the wrong hook (at least he hangs it up, right?), not because he hands me the remote to turn off the television every night, not because he goes deaf when I start doing dishes, and not because I seem to be the only person in this apartment who seems to know how to put on coffee for the next morning.

I consider these minor and, mostly, livable quirks of which it is not worth the effort to demand change.

So, what is this one lingering thing that drives me crazy?

The boy does not like fruit desserts of any variety.  None.


This annoyance can be aggravating enough, but becomes particularly frustrating around the holidays.  From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I really just want to bake an apple pie every single day, if for no other reason than I would love my apartment to smell like freshly baked apple pie all the time.

While planning Thanksgiving dinner, I was, once again, determined to change his opinion with a vast spread of fruit pies.  His response?  "I'll try some pie, I guess.  Push it around the plate and what not."

Well now, if that isn't about the most depressing picture he could have painted in my dessert-consumed mind.  Did I also mention he can be incredibly devil-ish and knows just the right buttons to push in order to get what he wants?

Instead of pushing the issue, perhaps overtaken by the spirit of the season, I instead decided to create an ice cream sundae just for him.  With homemade chocolate gelato, an obvious choice, as the base, I drizzled a thick coat of salted caramel sauce into the bowl and sprinkled a healthy dose of candied bacon on top.

So, to review, my boyfriend threw a temper tantrum and I not only gave into his demands, but happily fed him chocolate ice cream, topped with sugar, topped with more sugar.

I think it's good that I do not have children.


Chocolate Gelato with Salted Caramel Sauce & Candied Bacon
candied bacon adapted from Gourmet, 2009
makes about 1 quart gelato

Chocolate Gelato
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons good-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Candied Bacon
3 slices thick-cut bacon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon

Preparation Instructions
Make the gelato: Prepare an ice water bath. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa powder, and just enough milk to create a smooth, lump free mixture.

Pour the remaining milk, cream, and granulated sugar in medium saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure sugar does not cook on bottom on pan.

When liquid comes to a boil, temper boiling liquid into chocolate mixture a bit at a time, whisking constantly to keep mixture lump-free. When mixtures are fully combined, return liquid to saucepan over medium heat.

When mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean mixing bowl or other heat-proof container. Place container in ice bath to cool. Whisk mixture occasionally while cooling.

When mixture is cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, freeze ice cream in mixer according to manufacturer's instructions. When custard is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, transfer to a pint container. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

Make the sauce: In saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar until a beautiful caramel color is achieved. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium-low heat.

When sugar is caramelized, remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour boiling cream into caramel. Whisk in butter and salt.

Pour salted caramel into small mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature [Note: you can also place this bowl into an ice bath to cool caramel quickly]. When caramel is cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Candy the bacon: Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat, turning once, until lightly browned on edges but still flexible, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Pour off fat from skillet and arrange cooked bacon in a single layer in the skillet. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over bacon and cook over low heat, turning occasionally with tongs, until sugar has dissolved and then caramelized and coats bacon, 8 to 10 minutes. Bacon will appear dark and look lacquered.

Transfer bacon with tongs to a cutting board to cool. When bacon is cool, chop bacon, and place in airtight container until ready to serve.

To serve: Bring salted caramel sauce to room temperature. Place two scoops of gelato in serving bowls. Drizzle with salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with bits of candied bacon. Serve immediately.

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