Amazingly, as a child I was never fond of chocolate ice-cream or gelato, preferring the easy flavours of vanilla or strawberry. But trust me, I’ve more than made up for it in my adulthood.
The base recipe for this gelato is inspired by Pellegrino Artusi's century-old Italian recipe for gelato di cioccolata. I couldn’t help but add a fair bit more chocolate to the recipe and to spice it up with cardamom and gooey, stewed figs. You could use canned figs in syrup if you can find them, or stew fresh ripe figs yourself. Even better (for a more intense flavour and sweetness), use dried figs steeped in hot water, then stewed until soft and gooey.
milk (or for a richer, creamier consistency, pouring cream)
In a pot, gently heat the milk and add the chocolate, the sugar and spice. Gently whisk it all together in the warm milk.
Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, add some of the chocolate mixture to the eggs and then add it all back to the pot and continue whisking for a few more minutes over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly.
Stir in the chopped, stewed figs.
Take off the heat and allow the chocolate mixture to cool completely before placing in an ice-cream maker. I find that home made gelato needs an extra hour or so in the freezer to set properly before serving.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.