Deeply Chocolate Gelato

I am a lover of dark chocolate.  Very bitter, deeply dark chocolate.  When I came across this recipe of Ina Garten's Deeply Chocolate Gelato, I just knew it would be divine.  

Ina recommends using Pernigotti cocoa.  Pernigotti is an Italian cocoa.  It imparts a rich and amazing chocolate flavor.   I found the cocoa on Amazon.  It's not cheap, however.  It costs about $20 a kilo, which is about 2.2 lbs.  I assured my husband that it was cheaper than cocaine and legal.  I ordered 3 kilo's.  My package arrived in about 5 day.  I was giddy with joy.  I made some amazing  chocolate almond Biscotti with my Pernigotti.  My next test was Ina's gelato.  


I can't think of anything else to say.

Gelato differs from ice cream.  Gelato generally used whole milk rather than cream.  

You will need 2 1/4 cups whole milk, 1/3 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup sugar (devided), 1 cup unsweetened cocoa, 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 4 egg yolks, 2 teaspoons vanilla, pinch of kosher salt and about 8 chocolates.  Ina recommends using Baci (Italian hazelnut candy), but I just had some Ferrero Rocher and decided that would work just fine.

You don't have to use the Pernigotti cocoa.  You can use what you have.  I don't love Hershey's, but you just might love Hershey's.  The flavor of the gelato is all about the chocolate that you use.  I'm just sayin'....

I almost forgot!  Ina's recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of Kahlua.  The addition of Kahlua will push the flavor right over the top.  BUT...I'm not an alcohol user and I live in Utah where alcohol isn't sold in grocery stores.  One has to go to a state run liquor store to purchase such items.  I'm leaving it at that.

In a medium size sauce pan, add the whole milk.

Add the heavy cream.

Add only 1/2 cup of the sugar.  We will use the remaining 1/4 cup later.

Stir over medium heat until the milk begins to steam and the sugar has dissolved.

Now add the cocoa...OR your fabulous Pernigotti cocoa (I'm giggling and tapping my feet because I love my new cocoa).


Oh baby!  Look at the lovely chocolate.

I guess the cocoa wasn't enough for Ina.  SO she adds 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.

Go on, Ina, just push it right over the top!

Seriously!  Just look at the deep dark chocolate satin that I'm going to freeze and EAT!


In the bowl of a mixer, add the egg yolks.  Imparting more richness.

Beat the egg yolks.

With the mixer running, slowly add the 1/4 cup reserved sugar.

Beat until the egg yolks are light yellow and thick.

Take the chocolate heaven off of the heat and SLOWLY add it to the egg mixture.  

The chocolate heaven is HOT.  If you add it all at once, it will cook your egg yolks and you will ruin 1 cup of that precious cocoa.

Continue to mix until thoroughly blended.

Pour the mixture back into the pan.

Clip on a candy thermometer.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly.  Until the thermometer reaches 180 degrees.

This will cook the egg yolks, so there is no need to worry about uncooked eggs in your gelato.

Once the temperature reaches 180 degrees, remove from the heat.

Do NOT allow the mixture to boil.

We want to make sure that there are no hidden lumps.

Pour the liquid through a wire mesh strainer into a large bowl.


Add vanilla.  I'm sure you are using pure vanilla extract.

Add a large pinch of kosher salt.  Salt is a great friend to chocolate.  It just bumps of the flavor.  I just happen to have some kosher salt that has Tahitian vanilla bean mixed in.  In case you are wondering what the black specks are in my kosher salt.

Press a piece of plastic wrap right to the top of the gelato mixture.  This will keep a skin from forming on the top of the mixture. 

Refrigerate until cold.  I like to chill any ice cream custard for a good 24 hours.  I think it helps create greater volume in the ice cream.  

After 24 hours of refrigeration, remove the plastic wrap.   

DO NOT just throw it away.  I'm going to be extremely disappointed  if you don't lick that plastic wrap.  

I DID!  I cannot waste one speck of that cocoa.

The custard is very thick.

You can use whatever ice cream maker you have.  Since this only makes one quart of gelato, I'm just using my tabletop ice cream maker.

REMEMBER:  You MUST freeze the ice cream container for at LEAST 24 hours.  Trust me on this one.

I went to my freezer to find that I had forgotten to freeze the bowl.  Weird.  I usually store the bowl in the freezer so that it is always ready.  Some how it had been removed from the freezer.  Who did that?

SOOOOO  I had to wait another 24 hours to make the gelato.  NOOOOO!  

Freeze according to the manufacturers directions for the particular ice cream maker that you have.

Look how thick and rich the custard is.  Like I said, satin.

While the gelato is freezing, prepare your chocolates.

Coarsely chop whatever candy you choose to use.

After the ice cream maker has been running for 15 minutes or when your gelato looks this fabulous, add the chopped candy.

Continue to let the ice cream maker run until the chopped candy is well incorporated.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  I have mentioned this before.  Only run the ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes at the most.  After this time the liquid that is frozen inside the bowl will begin to thaw.  If you continue to run the maker, your gelato will eventually turn back into a liquid.  Then you have to start the process all over again.  After 20 minutes or so, it will not freezer any firmer than it already is.  Turn off the machine.

Take this moment to eat a few spoonfuls.  Just to make sure that the gelato is perfect.

It will be.

Remove the dasher and scrape or lick off the gelato.

Transfer to a container with a lid and place int he freezer until it has set firmly or you can serve it immediately.

Another NOTE:  DO NOT keep the gelato in this container.  If you do, you will end up with chocolate gelato so hard that you won't be able to scoop it out.  

Now this truly is Deeply Chocolate Gelato.

Dark Chocolate Gelato
Ina Garten

2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended: Pernigotti)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 extra large egg yolks
4 tablespoons Mexican coffee flavor liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Large pinch kosher salt
8 chocolates, roughly chopped, optional (recommended: Baci)

Heat the milk, cream and 1/'2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer.  Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.

Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Ad candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees F.  Don't allow the mixture to boil!

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the coffee liqueur, vanilla and salt.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.

Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according the the manufacturer's directions.  Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate, if using and freeze in covered containers.  Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving. Makes 4 servings. 


  1. Oh, oh, OH!!! I have some lovely Indonesian cocoa I've been waiting to use until something special came along. This looks. Pretty. Darn. Special!

  2. wow...janet you are killing me with this pictures...They look divine...Awesome..I love it


  3. Indonesian cocoa? I want some! Where do I get that?

  4. I am torn. I don't know what excited me more, the pictures of the absolutely divine looking gelato, or your thermometer. Might I inquire about where you purchased your thermometer? :D

    Thanks for sharing this wickedly decadent recipe.

  5. The thermometer is definitely worth getting excited over. I purchased mine at Williams-Sonoma, but just ordered one for my brother-in-law from Amazon. Amazon was free shipping no sales tax...can't beat that.

  6. This looks so divine!! Keep up the great work!

  7. I am more of a milk chocolate than a dark chocolate kinda girl...I however had second thoughts after seeing your dark choco gelato post. I have to try this. With Kahlua in the mix, this is my kind of cold treat!

  8. This is as dark as you can get. You could cut the cocoa in half and it would be equally as delicious. The Kahlua,however, pushes it right over the top!

  9. This looks impossibly delicious! The Ferrero Rocher make it even more amazing. Yummy!

  10. This looks amazing!!...I definitely need to get an ice cream maker now! Any chance I could use light cream instead of heavy cream or 2% milk vs whole milk?


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  11. Isn this an icecream as opposed to a gelato because it uses an egg custard base?

    1. Premium ice creams are made with fresh cream (not condensed or powdered milk), real eggs, and natural flavorings. Quality ingredients aside, lesser ice creams also have more air whipped in. As much as half the carton may be air, in fact. More air--or "overrun"--means softer ice cream that scoops more easily and melts more quickly. Premium ice creams have very little air added; gelato has no air added at all. (There’s a minimal amount of air that's incorporated naturally because of the churning process.)

      Gelato and some premium ice creams are so dense that they require a slightly higher serving temperature, a perfect point where your scoop is firm but not hard and not so soft that it melts immediately. Gelato recipes usually include more egg yolks, more milk and less cream. It actually has less fat than regular ice cream, but gelato's low overrun makes for an extremely dense, rich and creamy treat...just sayin...

  12. I made this tonight and it is fabulous! I don't think that the custard will actually make it into the ice cream maker because I ate like half of it already! I can only imagine what the finished product will be!

    1. Haha. I'm with you. I'm pretty sure I stuck my whole face into the bowl and licked it clean. Just wait until it's frozen! Delicious.

  13. Just wondering what kind of bittersweet chocolate you used? Thanks

    1. I used a 55% semi-sweet chocolate called Peter's Burgandy. I buy it in 10 lb blocks. You can use your favorite chocolate or even chocolate chips.

  14. Great recipe thank, but am I being thick?! Your last sentence said not to leave the frozen gelato in the same container otherwise it will get too hard. Was the point more to eat it immediately or that I really must transfer it?

    1. Both! You can eat it immediately, but if there is still ice cream in the freezer container you should transfer it to another container.

  15. This is such a mouth watering blog post! Thank you for sharing your recipe! =)

  16. Its in the gelato maker right now! The custard tasted delicious and very very chocolatey- in fact I added a bit more sugar and cream as I found it a bit too bitter. Also omitted all the chopped chocolates sl it will just be smooth and creamy. Now it is exactly to my liking!!! ��❤️

    1. Yum! I think your changes will be wonderful! Enjoy.