Buttered Popcorn Gelato Recipe

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Hedy Goldsmith is executive pastry chef for The Genuine Hospitality Group, including Michael's Genuine in Miami. Her first cookbook, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts With Big Flavors, came out last week, and she's offering a preview with a few recipes on Food Republic.

I've given up meals for a tub of movie theater popcorn. I love the flavor so much, I had to create a gelato version. This gelato is so unique that I actually served it as a side dish for a hamburger at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival's famous Burger Bash. My popcorn ice cream sandwich was the belle of the Burger Ball. Oh, and the popcorn must be freshly made – don't even think about store-bought or the microwave variety. Sure, it might be faster, but the gelato will taste terrible!

Buttered Popcorn Gelato Recipe
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  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 4 extra large egg yolks
  1. In a very large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Cook, whisking, over medium heat until just barely boiling and the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Add the popcorn and stir until coated. Cover and set aside until cool, about 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, firmly pressing on the popcorn with the back of a spoon to extract every last drop of flavor and cream. You should have about 3 cups of liquid. Add more cream, if needed, to come up to this amount.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and the remaining 2/3 cup sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and thick and forms a ribbon when the beater is lifted.
  4. Over medium heat, bring the cream mixture back to a simmer. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the mixture into the egg yolks until blended. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula—making sure you get the sides and bottom of the saucepan—until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula and to hold a line drawn through it with your finger, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. This custard needs to be cooled at room temperature! Because of the oil, it will harden if refrigerated, and the churned gelato won’t have a smooth texture but will be more like overwhipped heavy cream and have a granular texture.
  6. To churn, pour the custard into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately, or for a firmer gelato, scrape into a chilled bowl, cover, and freeze until firm, or for up to 3 days.
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