We have a favourite ice-cream parlour where we bought some special Christmas edition gelato for our Christmas Eve dinner in 2006. We loved that so much that we wanted to do it again this past Christmas. But we were out of luck. The store was closed.
So I decided to make my own. I have had an ice-cream maker for a couple of years, but I do not use it very often. You will see why.
First of all you have to keep the mixing bowl of the ice-cream maker in the freezer for about 48 hours before you can use it. The freezer has to be turned to the highest setting.
I made a Hazelnut-Chocolate Gelato using a recipe from this book. I used a store-bought hazelnut butter. First you have to cook a custard with egg yolks, hazelnut butter, milk and cream. Then you dissolve the chocolate in the custard. After that you have to cool it down quickly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
The actual making of the ice-cream is a run against time. You take the mixing bowl out of the freezer and hope, that it does not thaw faster than your custard freezes. (It is also a good idea to put the ice-cream container you want to use later into the freezer.)
Turn on the machine and pour the custard into the bowl. The bowl turns slowly and there is a plastic scrape that pushes the custard away from the wall of the bowl. You let it run for about 25 minutes. If everything went well you will end up with ice-cream the consistency of soft ice. You then have to get it quickly into your container and freeze it for about another 3 hours.
My ice-cream ended up being very tasty, but not as creamy and smooth as a store-bought one. If you wanted that, I guess you would have to seriously invest into an ice-cream maker with its own freezing unit.