Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gelato di Riso (Rice Gelato), Homemade

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“We gotta go to Vivoli!”, my friend Monica insisted.

According to her trusted travel resource,
Rick Steve’s Travel Guide, Monica informed us that Vivoli is said to make the best gelato in Florence, or in Italy for that matter. And Rick recommends trying the rice gelato.

"Rice ice cream?” I said, “never heard of that before! But rice + ice cream together? What’s not to like? That must be good".

Monica didn’t have to convince the group any further. Off we went to find Vivoli.

This conversation happened many years ago one summer. A couple of my colleagues and I decided to spend our summer break in Italy while being student-trainees in Germany. We were the typical student travellers – backpacking and staying in youth hostels. We really didn’t have that much money but we made the most of what we had. We met Monica while in Verona (of famed Romeo & Juliet), our first leg of the trip. Since she was traveling alone, she decided to hook up and tag along with us. So we were together in the next 4 weeks exploring Italy and became fast friends. Those were good times – no, best times.

It was in our stop in Florence that Monica mentioned this Gelateria that is a must-visit according to Rick Steve. (Rick Steve’s is a good resource when it comes to budget travels!)

After a bus ride and a lot of walking, we finally managed to find Vivoli. It was a small Gelateria, but boy, was there a long line outside of the shop! Not surprising though, because if it is the best Gelateria in Florence, then it follows that the place should be popular. So we fell in line. It must have taken us around 30 minutes to finally get our turn. Not bad, really. We were on vacation so time was on our side.

Needless to say, I had my Gelato di Riso for the very first time then. And I’m telling you, that was a piece of heaven in a cup (they don't have cones)! Yum'oh! It was so creamy, not too sweet -– everything that you had hoped a gelato would be – but with rice! It’s like a frozen rice pudding, but better! Indeed, our efforts paid off.
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Last month, I got an ice-cream maker. It was one of those points-reward that Mr. J got from his job – so we got it for free! I love free stuff, don't you? Of course I wanted to make ice-cream immediately to try my new toy. For others, the logical thing to do might have been to make something basic for the first time. Something that’s probably from the recipes that come with the manual. But no, I am not like that. (Yeah, I’m crazy). I wanted to do something ambitious. I wanted to do something simple -- but not that simple, you know what I mean? (If you're a girl, then you'd know what I mean!)

So just out of nostalgia from that trip in Italy – and because I am Asian – I decided to make rice gelato. It had been many years ago since I had this ice cream. I don’t remember exactly how the taste was but all I know was that it was very good!
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And so I began searching online for some recipes, which eventually led me to David Lebovitz’, The Perfect Scoop. This recipe book received so many good reviews from Amazon buyers, and most of all, it had the Rice Gelato recipe that I was looking for!!!! So that sealed the deal. I bought a copy.

After so many years, I had rice gelato again! It was creamy, super delicious. The only complaint Mr. J had was that it was too "orangey" - which was my fault. If you read the recipe, it required two strips of orange zests. Well, I made a mistake of pureeing the zests with the rice mixture (wasn't really a mistake because I decided to do it). Plus, I also added a teaspoon of orange liquour. So you can really taste the orange in the ice cream. Mr. J found the orange taste overpowering - maybe so - but I liked it. With the ice cream I made the hazelnut tuile cookie, that I shaped using the wooden handle of a spoon (for that cigar shape).


This rice gelato is my entry to this weeks' Lasang Pinoy Sunday (La.Pi.S) - Melted Bliss. Eating this ice-cream took me back to Italy..... What a bliss, indeed!

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Rice Gelato (Gelato di Riso)
David Lebovitz

1/2 cup Italian Arborio rice*
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean*, split in half lenghtwise
Two 1-inch-wide strips of orange zest
5 large egg yolks (save the whites for use later)
1 cup half-and-half or cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. In a 1.75 to 2 quart baking dish, mix together the rice, milk 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt. Add the vanilla bean and strips of orange zest.

3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the rice from the oven and remove the foil. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then continue to bake the rice, uncovered for another 30 minutes.

4. Remove the rice from the oven a second time, remove the vanilla bean and orange zest and briskly whisk in the egg yolks at once. Then whisk in the half and half or cream and nutmeg.

5. Puree half of the rice mixture in a blender or food processor until chopped fine then stir it back into the cooked rice.

6. Chill the mixture in the fridge (I left mine for 2 hrs), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

*NOTE: I made mine 1/4 c arborio rice and 1/4 c sweet "gelatinous" rice, aka sticky rice. I thought that the sticky rice would make the ice cream a lot creamier, which it did. I didn't have a vanilla bean, but I used a good quality vanilla bean paste. But if you don't have the vanilla bean or paste, I believe that vanilla extract would do.

43 comments:

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Oh, how I regret not having tried rice gelato in Florence! Sounds heavenly!

MUSHROOMSfromHOME said...

oh wow, this gets my vote, this is indeed melted bliss! have not tasted rice gelato yet, but ice cream and rice together seem excitingly delectable.

Christine said...

Your Rice Gelato looks fabulous and very creamy. My family is a BIG fan of any ice-cream. But we haven't tried this "rice ice-cream". It must be very delicious.

Grace said...

smooth and creamy-dreamy, that's what describes your gelato. also, incredible, appetizing, and luscious. :)

KitchenMaus said...

I've tried lots of gelato in Italy but never this one! Sounds and looks blissful!The Tulipe is beautiful too!

oggi said...

I'd love to try this flavor, sounds delicious.

Z'riz said...

Rice galato? I haven't tried that one yet...especially one as authentic as what you had but I'm sure it's yummy...it does look uber delish, too! I'll prolly hold the oranges in mine, though :)

Jay - agent112778 said...

they say that Gelato is better than ice cream...

but for me both looks good, taste even better

Leslie said...

I adore gelato! And rice gelato..even better!

Zita said...

Woow... love everything rice-y, and your gelato looks fabulous ;)

Pinky said...

Rice gelato? Now that's something definitely worth trying! And I thought nocciola would easily top my gelato list... hahaha!

Kudos to you for making this truly delish and sinfully blissful treat!

JMom said...

Your gelato is totally gorgeous and I enjoyed reading about your travels. I'll have to try making gelato as it would probably be a long time before I can visit Florence again.

Heather said...

that's one type of gelato i've never thought of making. it looks yummy!

Juliana said...

Gelato with rice? It sounds very interesting...I'll definitely try it! By the way...great pictures!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, that's unusual and original! This gelato sure looks mighty scrumptious! I'll have to try that once...

Cheers,

Rosa

ces said...

never heard and tried rice gelato..hmmm, something for my daughter to try out after her firsts attempt on making home made gelato and i just tried it a few minutes ago..good!!!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Fantastic! And how funny I was just flicking through an ice cream book and I saw a rice ice cream and wondered what it was like. Good to know that it's delicious :)

Elyse said...

What a great story! I love that this gelato takes you back to Italy. I've never had "rice" gelato, but now, you have me wanting to try it. I mean, anything you call heaven in a cup, I've got to try, right? So glad you got to make this with your ice cream maker! Thanks for your comments on my blog...so glad they led me to your awesome blog! Can't wait to keep reading more.

Munchkin Mommy said...

First time I've heard of rice gelato! I wish I were more informed when I first went to Italy eons ago! Hahaha! I'd love to have an ice cream maker too. But I have a long list of kitchen "must buys" before i get to the ice cream maker. :(

the rice gelato you made looks so temptingly yummy!

Lori said...

That looks so creamy and delicious. I like the addition of orange liquor!

s. stockwell said...

Oh my we are all discussing this idea? We could spike it with some many things...good one! best, s & chefs

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

I love rice pudding and rice gelato is definitely right up my alley!

noobcook said...

What a unique flavour for ice cream! I wish I had an ice cream maker ... your home made one looks fantastic ^^

Joie de vivre said...

*Sigh* I was able to spend a month in Rome during college and have yet to make it back. I have a calendar with pictures from the movie Roman Holiday by my computer though, so I dream about it! My favorite gelato was nicoise (hazelnut). I don't know if I ventured too far beyond that. Doesn't everything taste better when you are in Italy?

Thanks for your comment on my blog. My kids did know they were eating rabbit. It was my three year old that actually picked it out at the butchers!

Fearless Kitchen said...

I've never heard of rice gelato, but I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't be good. This really looks divine, and it's great that you're able to re-create part of a happy memory with it.

Maria said...

I want a scoop!

Kevin said...

I would not have thought to use rice! It looks so good!!

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Rice gelato... never thought of that! But it does sound incredible.

Annie said...

Wow, what an exciting time you must have had traveling with friends in Italy!!! I wish I had done that while I had the chance. I did visit Italy once(my mom was born there) but never made it to Florance.
The rice gelato looks great. I'm glad you went for it on your first try!

Donna-FFW said...

This looks terrifically creamy and very intriguing!! I love the photos!

Manang said...

Oh wow! This is a must-try for this year's summer treats! I have bookmarked this for reference. Thanks for the recipe!

Yeah, i love freebies too...but I don't get any. I do get some kitchen gadgets using my blog ads earnings...pareho na rin yun...haha!

mikky said...

wow, looks refreshing... specially with our hot weather here... :)

Gay said...

Wow, I want an ice cream maker, too!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

That sounds amazing. I like rice pudding and icecream, so a combo sounds awesome. I'm glad you were adventurous, the manufacturers recipes are often really boring.

Arfi Binsted said...

What a combo!! I love rice pudding, and here's my first encounter of rice gelato... WOW!! worth to try.

Jude said...

Rice gelato sounds great. Nice touch with the tuile, too. I would have been too lazy to make it or something :)

The Duo Dishes said...

Love that last photo. Looks melty and sweet. Delicious!

Cynthia said...

I have that book and I am definitely going to try this. When you said it was like a frozen rice pudding I was completely sold.

I laughed hard at this - I wanted to do something simple -- but not that simple, you know what I mean? (If you're a girl, then you'd know what I mean!)

toni said...

HOMEMADE? You're a gelato genius!

Maris said...

I can't imagine not liking ANY gelato. Thanks for the great recipe :)

Maris said...

I just commented but I don't know if it went through when my computer screen froze!

This looks great though, I can't imagine not liking ANY gelato!

Leslie said...

Bless you for coming up with this recipe! I fell in love with Riso Gelato at Vivoli's in 1987. I tried, to no avail, to have them ship it to me. I've added it to the top of everyone's itinerary when in Italy. One taste has made converts of them all. I'm a chocolate/nut/coconut freak--but this Rice Gelato is on my list of what I'd love to eat in my last meal! THANK YOU!!

Russ said...

If you go again to Gelateria Vivoli, there is a nice jewelry store owned by a Filipina. It is in the Piazza Santa Croce near Basilica of Santa Croce. It is very close to Gelateria Vivoli. My wife, who is a Filipina, gets a discount as should you!