Toasted almond gelato

It’s August and most of Italy has gone to the beach. There, folk hang about waist deep in water, resplendent in dry clean only swimming costumes, chatting to their friends and eating ice cream. The sea is the best place to eat a drippy gelato.

That image came to mind when I was in Selfridges the other day and had a teeny tiny Thumbelina size cone of almond gelato, it was delicious and I thought I should have a go at making some. This recipe is based on one I found on the internet, attributed to Giuliano Hazan. It’s worth making your own ground almonds; the taste is vastly superior.

This makes enough for 4 people.

100g slivered almonds
200 ml single cream
250 whole milk
4 free range, large egg yolks
125g golden castor sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and dry fry the almonds, stirring all the time, until they start to turn golden. Fish out any which start to colour very quickly and return to the others when they’re done. Almonds are tricksy things which continue cooking even after the heat is turned off, so put your mobile on silent and keep a beady eye on the task. Once cooked and cooled, blitz them in a food processor until they are the consistency of castor sugar.

Mix the cream and milk in a jug and heat it in the microwave for 4 minutes – it should be hot and steaming slightly, but not boiling.

Cream the egg yolks and sugar in a mixer (or with a whisk) until it’s pale and increased in volume slightly. Gradually add the hot milk, continuing to whisk as you do so. Then add the ground almonds and vanilla and mix again.

Transfer this mixture to a non stick saucepan, place it over a low heat, and use a spatula to stir the almond milk until it thickens slightly. This will take a good 5 minutes and depends on variables like the heat, your saucepan and so on. Don’t let it boil. Keep scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan – you don’t want scrambled eggs forming; you’re looking for a double cream or vichyssoise soup consistency.

Pour the custard into a bowl, cover it and leave to cool to room temperature before chilling it in the fridge.

Then whack it in your ice cream maker, following its usual instructions. This ice cream is best eaten within a couple of hours of being made.