This is one of the nicest flavors of gelato I’ve made, naturally a beautiful shade of green, very subtle and elegant. And it sells very well. Unimaginative vegetable doubters, STFU!!!
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 pint baby artichoke petals
1 swipe of lemon zest*
1/2 vanilla pod**
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp Cynar***
Salt to taste
Combine milk, cream, artichoke petals, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Remove from heat and cover with something airtight (I use plastic which seals itself to the edges of the hot pan), set aside for 20-30 minutes. Uncover and purée everything but the vanilla in a blender.
Return contents of blender to saucepan and heat to steaming. Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a separate bowl, then gradually whisk mixture into eggs. Temper hot liquid into egg mixture, then return all to saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. It’s done when it’s as thick as a loose pudding with no starchy smell, taste or mouthfeel.
Pass through a fine mesh strainer, being sure to get all the custard out of the artichoke fibers. Chill and salt to taste, then add Cynar. Churn in ice cream**** or gelato machine.
*That is, the resulting zest from running a microplane zester the entire length of a medium lemon once.
** I have a bag of pre-scraped vanilla pods leftover from a recipe that required only the seeds. I already have more vanilla sugar than I could possibly use, so I keep them on hand for infusing vanilla flavor without the visible seeds. You could just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract with the Cynar, if you like.
***Cynar is a bitter liqueur containing, among many other things, artichoke. There is an artichoke on the label. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the vegetable in question and adds a nice depth.
****This is my standard base when creating an infused flavor. I inverted the amounts of milk and cream since ultra-rich bases don’t fare well in a gelato machine. If you have a machine that adds a substantial amount of air to the final product, I recommend using more cream than milk.