Yogurt Gelato

Over the week I spent in Italy this summer, I tasted quite a few gelato flavors from the nutty to the creamy to the fruity. Much of the time I stuck with just one flavor to savor its purity. However, on occasion I would try two at once for fun. My favorite combination was a yogurt gelato paired with a refreshing fruit flavor such as melon, raspberry or pink grapefruit. I was inspired to try to recreate it at home. I used a fairly basic gelato base and added tangy Greek yogurt to create this creamy dessert. This gelato stands alone just fine, but it’s also rather nice topped with fresh fruit and a drizzle of balsamic syrup, or a sprinkling of Grapenuts cereal for crunch. I think it would also go nicely with a fruit crisp of any variety.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt

  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk and the cream over medium until tiny bubbles begin to appear. Don’t be tempted to rush it. Stir the mixture frequently and watch it closely to prevent a skin developing on the surface. When it looks a little foamy around the edges, remove it from the heat and set it aside for a few minutes while you prepare the eggs.
  • Whisk together the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar. Once well-blended, slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the hot milk while whisking continuously and vigorously. If you add the eggs to the hot milk too quickly, you’ll have scrambled eggs so take your time. Set the saucepan back on the stove over medium heat and continue stirring constantly until you have a thickened custard that coats the back of a spoon. There may be a few little eggy lumps (or not…mine was amazingly smooth, believe it or not). If you see any eggy lumps, pour the hot mixture through a sieve to ensure a smooth base. Cover and refrigerate until very cold.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the pinch of salt and hot water until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice and yogurt, then whisk together until smooth. Add the yogurt mixture to the chilled milk base, whisking until blended.
  • Add the mixture to an electric ice cream freezer and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the gelato from the machine and place it into a freezer-safe container to “ripen” in the freezer for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy alone, on a cone or topped with anything you like.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. I typically use 2% Greek yogurt for cooking and eating, but for this recipe I used the full fat variety. It is a dessert, after all.
  • 2. To make sure the base was adequately cold before continuing, I chilled it in the refrigerator overnight. If you start this process in the morning, you should be able to make your gelato by late afternoon.
  • 3. I used the Cuisinart electric ice cream maker and it took about 30 minutes to churn the gelato into the right consistency. With the particular model I own, you must freeze the bowl in advance. This was a two day project for me since I wanted to be sure the bowl was adequately frozen and the base well chilled beforehand.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Churn time: About 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): Makes 4 cups

3 responses to “Yogurt Gelato”

  1. Deborrah says:

    Thank you! I just returned from 3 weeks in Italy and my favorite gelato was yogurt! I have been experimenting with making gelato (your base is the same as the one I used), but wasn’t sure how to add other ingredients. Can’t wait to try this! Do you have any suggestions for making limone gelato? What to use, when to add, etc. thank you!

    • Alicia says:

      Three weeks in Italy? Lucky you! As for adding ingredients, I’ve experimented with adding small bits of fruit (big pieces get too hard when frozen so keep them relatively small) or chopped chocolate and nuts. You need to add these in towards the final five minutes when it’s almost done churning. As for limone…hmmm. I don’t know for sure. I tend to think the best lemon flavor comes from using both the grated zest and the juice, but beyond that I don’t have any more specific directions for you. Good luck!

  2. Zita says:

    Thank You! This recipe is spot on. Made it today as it tasted the exact way it did in Italy.

    Will definitely be making again and again in my household.

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