We're making gelato for a wedding this weekend. I thought it would be easy. The theme is a Tuscan wedding, and the savory menu includes boar, among other things. This is also the wedding with the horse's ass groom's cake. And we're making lots of Italian cookies, but I am getting ahead of myself.
The gelato flavors are pistachio, orange-fig, Limoncello, Anisette, Frangelico and pear sorbet.
The pistachio is easy. We use a dry pistachio base, add milk, and freeze. It tastes great and we've made it many times. The orange-fig starts with a panna (cream) base, with orange extract and fresh figs (I remembered to freeze some when we were able to get them fresh a month ago). The pear sorbet is made with Pear William puree (see the kiwi sorbet recipe).
Ah then, the two problem children: Anisette and Limoncello. Anisette is a sweet clear liqueur made with anise seeds. It tastes like licorice. Anisette-laced coffee is served at many Italian restaurants as an after dinner "digestiv." They must not serve it at Italian restaurants in Alabama because you cannot buy it in the state-owned liquor store. I had to have a friend buy it in Mississippi for me. The clerk at the ABC store here didn't even know what it was.
The question then became how to make gelato from it. We decided on a coffee sorbet with anisette added. I used the entire bottle of anisette, and you can sure taste it. This is clearly an example of "don't eat and drive." My only concern at this point is that maybe there is so much alcohol in the gelato, it may not stay "frozen." The caterer has been warned.
Limoncello. The clerk at the liquor store had at least heard of it, but they don't carry it. I could make my own, which I did, just in case my Mississippi connection was not successful procuring it for me. Luckily, he came through. Now then, how to turn this beverage into gelato.
Having learned (I hope) from the anisette experience, I don't want to use too much liqueur. Limoncello is made from lemon essence, sugar, water and clear grain alcohol (think 190-proof, 95% alcohol, Everclear - something that will probably NEVER freeze).
So we focused on the lemon essence, sugar and water, making a lemon scented gelato, with some limoncello added. I am thinking something between lemon squares and a lemon cream pie, kicked up a notch. Very southern. And really good.
With all this talk about alcoholic beverages, you would never guess that Tuscaloosa, while not a dry county, is a place where you cannot be served alcohol on Sunday. Except in your own home of course, a concept that does not go unpracticed by many of the population.