I recently added George Hrab's weekly Geologic podcast
to my playlist after hearing Geo as a guest rogue on the Skeptics' Guide
. It's incredibly entertaining and eclectic. Geo is an engaging skeptic and an amazing musician. I know next to nothing about music, but even I am absorbing some geeky details about music, almost without realizing it. Geologic has deepened my appreciation of things like the time signature at the beginning of Where The Streets Have No Name
One feature of the Geologic podcast is a segment called "Geo's Mom Reads Jay Z Lyrics." In episode 184 Geo and his mom talk about the pleasures of Nutella
. Geo had recently tasted this perfect blend of chocolate and hazelnut for the very first time and wondered why he hadn't been bathing in it all his life.
I first encountered Nutella while living on a kibbutz
and doing archaeology in the Negev desert in 1997. I remember the day I saw little packets of it in the cafeteria next to some crackers and gave it a try. The markets carried it in glass jars, and the one I packed carefully, wrapped in newspapers and plastic bags, did not survive in my carry-on. It was nearly a decade before I started seeing it on grocery store shelves here in Geographic Isolation.
Now I can share this luscious delight with my children and tell crazy stories about Biblical archaeology in the Holy Land. It's such a lovely sense memory, and reminds me of my beloved professor who died in 2006 while leading a younger group of students to fascinating sites in Israel.
A friend from Spain gave me this recipe. It's hard to improve on perfection, but this helado is sublime.
* 1.5 cups whole milk
* 1.5 cup heavy cream
* 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
* 4 egg yolks
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
* 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish
In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls and top with hazelnuts.