You can make Italian gelato with or without an ice cream maker. I only got an ice cream maker about two years ago... that's another story for another post... or maybe I will tell you.
Regardless, if you don't have an ice cream maker or you buy one from Canadian Tire that is missing its paddle, you can follow these simple directions.
In a saucepan, place:
2 cups fresh clean blueberries (approximately one pound)
1/2 cup sugar
juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons water
Cook over low heat, stirring very gently as to not squish the berries. They will cook slowly and be ready to remove from the heat when they are dark and shiny and all of the sugar granules are gone.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature and add the zested peel of the lemon you juiced for the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill.
In a heavy pan, place two cups whole (full fat) milk over low heat. Meanwhile, stir 2 tablespoons corn starch into one cup of the cold milk. When the milk in the pan is warm to the touch and bubbles are forming around the edge of the pan, add the cold milk mixture and continue to cook it slowly, stirring constantly. Be careful not to scald the milk. This process with thicken the milk slowly as the corn starch cooks, but it will not be as thick as say, custard.
Continue cooking the milk mixture over low-to-medium heat, stirring constantly until you can see it thickening. A good test for doneness would be to dip a spoon into the warm milk. If you pull the spoon out and it has a thin layer of milk on it, you're finished. If it runs off like milk from a cereal spoon, keep cooking it.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour mixture into a glass bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
The next day, remove the cooked berries from the fridge. Add two tablespoons of gin to the mixture. You can omit this step if you have an ice cream machine. The alcohol in the gin prevents crystals from forming during freezing. Plus, it adds a little nip, and that can't be all bad. So, even if you have a machine, what the heck. Add it.
Don't worry about giving this gelato to children. My Granny gave me gin all the time, and I turnide uot fyne!
Now, blend 2/3 of the berries-in-gin until smooth, reserving 1/3 of the mixture as whole berries. Add all of the berries, blended and whole, to the cold milk mixture.
If you have an ice cream machine, you can now freeze the gelato according to the directions on your appliance.
If you are sans ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a baking pan (a 9x12 cake pan would work well) and place it in the freezer. Using a whisk, break the mixture up and give it a good stir every twenty minutes or so for about two hours, making sure there are no lumps or crystals.
I must confess, I was gifted an ice cream maker from Canadian Tire. The paddle broke the first time I used it so I took it back. I was told they wouldn't replace it for me because I had no receipt... hello... it was a gift. Arguing was pointless, even though I gave it a good try.
So, baby did a bad, bad thing. What did baby do?
I went to the appliance department, picked out the same ice cream maker, and bought it. I took it straight to the car, switched out the paddles, and then I returned one of them... you get my drift... with a receipt.
I'm only telling you this because it was time to come clean, even at my own peril. My conscious is now clean.
Oh, and I look absolutely fetching in orange jumpsuits, anyway.