When visiting a tiny village in France called Puycelsi, I happened upon an ice cream shop in a neighboring village. They had a flavor called Violette. I tried it and was hooked. It tasted like a cross between grape and bubblegum, but in a very delicate way. Of course, gelato is not French, but I love how the lower fat content in gelato (more milk, less cream) really lets the flavor shine through. So I adapted my gelato recipe and found some violet extract, which you can buy here.
This is a great make ahead dessert. Make it the day before to serve at a dinner party. It's delightful color and unique flavor will surprise your guests and make you look like a star.
- 3 cups of Whole Milk
- 1 cup of Heavy Cream
- 1 cup of Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
- 8 Egg Yolks
- 3 drops of Violet Extract
- Violet Food Color
Pour milk and cream in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and the salt together in a heatproof bowl with an electric hand mixer until pale yellow.
Bring the temperature of the egg mixture up by ladling a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, and mix fully into eggs. Then ladle in a little more of the hot milk and mix again.
Lastly, pour the entire egg/milk mixture to the saucepan and incorporate fully with the rest of the milk.
Bring the heat back to medium, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until the custard reaches 195°F on a thermometer.
Immediately turn off the heat and then strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a new heatproof bowl.
Chill the entire bowl over an ice bath (which means putting your bowl into an even bigger bowl that is half-filled with ice water), stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Add the Violet extract and stir again.
Transfer to a storage container with lid and chill in the fridge for 5 hours (you can also chill overnight).
Before churning, add the violet food color. I used Wilton Violet Icing Color. Add a very small amount (just a dab) and stir. See if you like the color, if you want more, you can always add more until you achieve the color you want, but do it in very very tiny increments.
Churn the gelato in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The gelato will still be soft and will need to go into the freezer for about 8 hours (or overnight).
I served mine with some fresh violets (that I found at my local Stop n Shop) and it really makes a beautiful presentation with minimal effort.