Hazelnut Stracciatella Ice Cream

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Hazelnut stracciatella ice cream is rich, creamy, intensely nutty & packed full of dark chocolate shards. Infusing the custard base with two types of hazelnut takes the flavour to another level!

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hazelnut stracciatella ice cream scoop

This is possibly my new favourite flavour! Based on a classic Italian gelato this homemade ice cream has a deep & intense hazelnut flavour with a smooth, creamy texture. It’s insanely good!

I’ve been eating this on its’ own but it would work especially well with something chocolatey or even a fruit based dessert, for something a bit different.

I bought an ice cream machine earlier this year & have been churning out batches of homemade ice cream ever since. I’m always looking for new flavours to try, so if you’ve got any suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

What Is Stracciatella Ice Cream?

Stracciatella is the name for the chocolate that is mixed through the ice cream at the end of the churning process. When the warm melted chocolate is drizzled into the ice cream, the cold temperature instantly freezes it, creating thin shards & flecks.

churned stracciatella ice cream

Ingredients Used

Hazelnuts

Hazelnut stracciatella needs to have a strong, nutty flavour. To achieve this, we’re using two types of hazelnut.

Roasted Hazelnuts

These are used to infuse the milk & cream before it is used to make the custard base. For the strongest possible flavour, the hazelnuts need to be roasted until they are a deep golden brown. Once cooked, they are roughly chopped & steeped in the milk for 1 hour.

Hazelnut Paste

This is used to amplify the flavour from the roasted hazelnuts. We need to use a paste that is made from as close to 100% hazelnuts as possible. Any extra fat or sugar will affect the texture & taste of the final ice cream.

This recipe can be made with just roasted hazelnuts but if you want the best flavour possible, it’s worth using paste as well. You’ll be able to find a good hazelnut paste online or you could make your own using roasted hazelnuts, just make sure to blitz it super smooth!

roasted hazelnuts

Milk & Cream

We’re using whole milk & double/heavy cream for this recipe as they contain the most fat. In ice cream, the right amount of fat will give us a smoother texture & a rich flavour. It will also make the ice cream easier to scoop.

Sugar

Light brown sugar & glucose syrup are used for this batch of ice cream. Both of these add sweetness & the glucose helps prevent ice crystals forming. This makes the ice cream smooth & creamy. We’re using light brown sugar for it’s deep, caramelised flavour.

Milk Powder

Without getting into the science too much, milk powder absorbs water & helps emulsify the ice cream which in turn, adds creaminess. Using the right amount is crucial as too much milk powder will turn the ice cream gritty. I use Nestle’s whole milk powder.

Dark Chocolate

Traditionally dark chocolate is used in stracciatella so that’s what we’re using. The chocolate needs to be slightly warm when it is added to the ice cream so that it doesn’t affect the churn. When the chocolate hits the ice cream, it will freeze almost instantly. This is what creates the shards of chocolate in stracciatella.

How To Make Hazelnut Stracciatella Ice Cream

We’re making our ice cream with an egg custard as our base. This will give us an ice cream that is rich, smooth & easy to scoop. Infusing the milk & cream with roasted hazelnuts & hazelnut paste is what imparts a deep, nutty flavour.

Infusing The Milk & Cream

The first step when making hazelnut stracciatella is to infuse the milk & cream with the roasted nuts. To do this we roast the hazelnuts until they are a deep. golden brown then chop them up & add into warm milk & cream. This is then left to infuse for an hour before using.

hazelnut infused cream milk
Roasted hazelnuts steeping in milk & cream

Making The Custard

To make the custard, we take the infused milk & pass it through a sieve into a saucepan. To this, we add in sugar, milk powder, glucose & hazelnut paste. This is then set over a low heat until steaming.

Next, egg yolks & sugar are whisked together then tempered with some of the hot milk. We then add this mix back into the milk & cook out until it is thick.
We’re taking the custard to a temperature of 82°c/180°f to ensure that the yolks are cooked enough.

For a super smooth texture, we blitz the custard with a stick blender then pass it through a sieve.

Overnight Chill

Once cooked, the custard needs to cool down then get refrigerated overnight. This helps the flavour develop & also means that the custard will be cold when it goes into the ice cream machine, shortening the churn time.

Churning & Adding Chocolate

To turn the ice cream into stracciatella, we first need to churn it to the consistency of soft scoop. If you were to check the temperature with a probe, it will be around -5°c/23°f. In most ice cream machines, this will take around half an hour.

15 minutes (or halfway) into the churn time, we need to heat the chocolate until just melted. This can be done in a microwave or over a bain marie. This is then transferred into a piping bag & set aside until required.

Now the fun part. With the ice cream machine still churning, slowly pipe a thin stream of melted chocolate directly into the ice cream. As the chocolate hits the ice cream, it will freeze, turning into thin shards. Once all the chocolate has been used up, keep churning for 30 seconds.

The churned hazelnut stracciatella can now be transferred into a 1 litre tub & placed into a freezer. It then needs to set for a minimum of 4 hour before serving.

Homemade Ice Cream Tips & Tricks

  • Chill your custard overnight for a better flavour & texture.
  • Dip your scoop in hot water for easier scooping!
  • Set your freezer to 18°c/-1°f for the best set.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an ice cream machine?

For the best results, you will need to use an ice cream machine. These can be picked up online for various price points but the investment is worth it!

How long will this ice cream keep for?

Homemade ice creams are best eaten within 2 weeks of being frozen. After this time, large ice crystals will start to form, affecting the texture.

Can I make this without chocolate?

For a regular, roasted hazelnut ice cream feel free to leave out the chocolate.

Can a different chocolate be used instead of dark?

Absolutely! Traditionally dark chocolate is used but white or milk would work as well.

What dark chocolate is best?

This comes down to personal preference. I like to use a 72% dark chocolate as it’s not overly bitter.

Do I need to use glucose?

For the best texture & for easy scooping, you will need to use glucose. This can be found in most supermarkets or online.

Equipment Used

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Hazelnut Stracciatella Ice Cream

Hazelnut stracciatella ice cream is rich, creamy, intensely nutty & packed full of dark chocolate shards. Infusing the custard base with two types of hazelnut takes the flavour to another level!
Prep Time1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Churning Time30 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 People
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Ice Cream Machine
  • Stick Blender
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Baking Tray
  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Sieve
  • Piping Bag

Ingredients

Ice Cream Base

  • 150 g Hazelnuts Whole
  • 420 g Whole Milk
  • 250 g Double Cream
  • 130 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 25 g Hazelnut Paste
  • 40 g Glucose Syrup
  • 25 g Whole Milk Powder
  • 85 g Egg Yolks

To Finish

  • 100 g Dark Chocolate 72% Is Best

Instructions

Hazelnut Infused Cream

  • Preheat an oven to 200°c/180°c fan (390°f/355°f).
  • Spread your hazelnuts out on a baking tray & roast for 8-10 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
  • Let the hazelnuts cool slightly then remove any skins. Roughly chop in a food processor (or by hand) then set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, place the milk, cream, half the sugar, vanilla & salt.
    Place over a low heat & cook until steaming.
  • Stir in the chopped hazelnuts & leave to steep for 1 hour at room temperature.

Ice Cream Base

  • Pass the milk & hazelnut mix into another saucepan, through a sieve. Give the hazelnuts a squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • Add the hazelnut paste, glucose & milk powder into the milk, whisk to combine then place over a low heat.
  • In the meantime, combine the egg yolks & remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • When the milk is steaming (don't let it boil!), pour a third into the yolks, whisking as you do so.
    This is called tempering the yolks.
  • Pour the now tempered yolks back into the saucepan then cook over a low heat until the custard reaches 82°c, making sure to stir constantly with a rubber spatula.
  • Remove from the heat then give the custard a quick blitz with a stick blender.
  • Pass into a bowl, through a sieve & leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
  • Once cool, place a piece of baking paper onto the custard's surface & refrigerate overnight.

Churning

  • The next day, pour the chilled custard into an ice cream machine & start churning.
  • In the meantime, roughly chop the dark chocolate & place into a heatproof bowl.
  • When your ice cream has been churning for 15 minutes, heat the chocolate in a microwave for 20 second bursts (or over a bain marie) until just melted.
    Transfer the chocolate into a piping bag & cut a small hole in the end.
  • When the ice cream has reached soft serve consistency (it will be around -5°c/23°f), slowly pipe the chocolate directly into the ice cream, whilst still churning.
    The chocolate will freeze into shards as it mixes through the ice cream.
  • Continue churning for another 30 seconds then transfer the ice cream into a 1 litre tub.
  • Leave to set in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours then serve.

Notes

To roast the hazelnuts in an Aga, use the bottom set of runners in the roasting oven & cook as above.
Homemade ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
If you haven’t got any hazelnut paste, just use roasted hazelnuts. The flavour will be slightly less intense but still good!
Make sure to use a hazelnut paste that is as to close to 100% nuts as possible. Butters & pastes with other ingredients will affect with the balance of ingredients.
Pure hazelnut pastes can be found online. You could also make your own using roasted hazelnuts, just make sure to blitz it so that it is completely smooth.
I would recommend using Nestle’s whole milk powder.

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