Nutella, not just for the bedroom anymore, Part II: Vanilla Nutella ice cream
We're not ones to ever miss something related to ice cream, but we missed the ice cream event. I can't say I'm surprised. We used to spend countless hours each week cooking, eating, writing posts, reading other blogs and offering comments. That's changed lately -- some of you may have noticed that we've been posting and commenting far less than normal. Now our time is consumed with lawyers, and insurance agents, and bankers.
After eight years in our two-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto, we wanted more: more space, more (hell, any) yard, and, of course, a kitchen big enough for two people to work in without literally stepping on one another's toes. Angry spouses and sharp blades are a bad combo, wouldn't you agree?
It all sounded so simple.
So we entered the Toronto real estate market. Ugly. House prices have been rising for the better part of a decade now, and the playing field is tilted strongly in the vendor's favour. Our least favourite selling tactic was the lowball price with a fixed date for offers. The low price sucks in many, many buyers, who all present offers one after another at a set time. Such fierce competition forces any interested party to make an unconditional offer that far exceeds the asking price if they hope to have a chance of getting the house. Picture seven or eight groups of buyers with their agents, pacing in the street outside the house in question as their offers are weighed and the neighbours peek through their windows.
We got burned by this strategy more times than I'd care to remember, and it began to take its toll. Where once we used to get excited about a property we wanted, after two years and almost a dozen unsuccessful offers, we began to approach houses with a fatalistic, "let's see how we'll lose this house" attitude.
Then one day we finally got the house -- an old Victorian in Little Italy -- and on Tuesday we took possession. During the mere month in between, our lives were consumed with the seemingly endless number of tasks it takes to turn pages of signatures into a set of keys to our new home.
Now that we own it, we're renovating it, which creates a whole new set of headaches. Out with the lawyers, insurance agents, and bankers, and in with the electricians, roofers, and contractors. It all means that we won't actually get to live in our new home until sometime in August, and it means that we rarely have time to devote to this blog.
When I do find time these days to devote to my stomach, I try to make it count. That means making things we really love, and vanilla Nutella ice cream is at the top of that list. We first tasted Nutella ice cream, gelato alla Nutella, on a trip to Italy. I remember two distinct variations: one where the Nutella is fully incorporated into the ice cream, and the other, where a Nutella stripe is added to a regular ice cream base. I prefer the latter, mainly because I love the texture of chilled Nutella melting on my palate.
Upon our return, I immediately set about trying to devise a version of my own. The biggest challenge, and one I still haven't overcome to my complete satisfaction, is how to properly add a stripe to ice cream. I've tried adding straight Nutella into the ice cream, and I find that the Nutella becomes too fully incorporated into the cream. To this point, I've used a technique I found in Williams-Sonoma Collection: Ice Cream in which Nutella is melted over a double boiler, a little vegetable oil is whisked in, and the mixture is then allowed to cool. This works reasonably well, but I'd appreciate any suggestions to improve this dish.
Fully incorporated or striped, this ice cream is still other-worldly. I'm not one for half-measures, so I always make this ice cream with a real vanilla bean (though I'm sure vanilla extract would work wonderfully too). Flecked with vanilla seeds and banded with Nutella, this ice cream is perfect for both vanilla and Nutella addicts.
Vanilla Nutella Ice Cream
250 ml (1 cup) 35% heavy cream
250 ml (1 cup) 3.25% milk
1 vanilla bean or substitute vanilla extract
110 g (1/2 cup) sugar
120 g (1/3 cup) Nutella
10 ml (2 tsp) canola oil
Combine cream, milk, sugar, and scraped vanilla seeds and pod and heat to 175F/79C.
One hour before churning the ice cream, heat the Nutella in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir in the oil, then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Freeze ice cream as per maker's instructions. At the last moment, add the room temperature Nutella mixture to the ice cream. Do not overchurn after this point or the Nutella will incorporate into the ice cream, rather than forming a stripe.