A repeated fond memory.
It’s a heat-thickened summer evening—July or August—and the sun is going down, in the quiet hours between dinner time and bed time.
My sister and I are sitting on the tiny front porch of our grandparents’ house, the porch they called the “veranda”.
The veranda is just big enough for three blue plastic chairs, squeezed together so that you are in contact with the person you’re sitting next to. But it’s plenty big for two little girls keeping tabs on the neighborhood as kitchen lights go off and porch lights come on.
The front door is open and through the screen door we can hear dishes clinking in the kitchen.
Moths are fluttering about, drawn over and over again to the ceiling light.
The television is on in the living room and its light flickers randomly through the curtains of the front window.
Crickets are chirping.
Neighborhood kids are riding their bikes home in the last of the day’s light.
Grandpa comes out with two small blue bowls of ice cream. In Canada, we do things differently than we do at home. For instance, we buy ice cream in small cardboard boxes and cut slices of it rather than serve scoops. On special nights, we have ice cream sandwiches made of a slice of ice cream between two toasted (previously frozen) waffles. But more often, we have the slice in a blue bowl.
When grandpa serves ice cream, it’s always chocolate. Plain chocolate. Milky, sweet, and just right. Chocolate at home ever tastes as good as Canadian chocolate. Silverwood’s chocolate milk, like a melted candy bar in a glass. Jersey Milk chocolate bars, creamy, with a touch of vanilla. Candy-coated chocolate Smarties, warmed and melty from sitting in the sun all day, that we carefully sorted by color and savored piece by piece after swimming all afternoon.
And the slice of chocolate ice cream at the end of a perfect day. Just me and my sister, scraping the bowls with our spoons, sharing the secrets of our childhood, the only two who hold that specific, sweet memory of a summer night on the veranda.
This Nutella gelato is far fancier than that long ago dish of store-brand ice cream, but its rich, smooth chocolateyness, sandwiched between two butter cookies is a close approximation. It’s almost a time machine back to summer nights when what mattered most was a slice of ice cream and staving off bed time just a little bit longer.
Theme for Friday: Original recipe
Take a look at the nutty recipes from other Ice Cream week participants:
from Giada De Laurentis
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish (optional)
In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir.
Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves.
Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls (optionally, top with hazelnuts).