Eggnog Gelato

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One of our holiday traditions was dashed this year when we couldn’t find Turkey Hill Eggnog Ice Cream. We always buy eggnog ice cream in December and Michael was quite dejected when I came home without the prize, so I set out to help him recover from his eggnog ice cream funk. I promised him an eggnog gelato and set off to create a recipe.

If you think about it, eggnog ice cream/gelato is truly French vanilla at heart, which is a custard much like real eggnog. I used the French vanilla gelato recipe in Making Artisan Gelato by Torrance Kopfer as a starting point and then played around a bit, adding more egg yolks, Myers Dark Rum, and nutmeg. Alcohol in ice cream or gelato affects the freezing temperature and has a tendency to keep the frozen product soft and sometimes a little loose, but adding a little cornstarch or arrowroot to the mixture helps the texture. We also pre-freeze the mixture, letting it rest about 30 minutes or so in the freezer before churning, which reduces the churning time. Less churning time means less air is whipped in, and that means the final texture is more like rich gelato.

Michael and I sampled the custard before chilling it and again after churning. We slurped eggnog gelato off the dasher and out of the bowl, not wanting to waste a single drop. Then after a 24-hour freeze time, we scooped some of the gelato into a bowl for a quick photo before resuming the slurping. The flavor of the dark rum comes through very well, but if rum isn’t your favorite and you prefer just a hint of rum in your eggnog, you can reduce the amount.

As with all gelatos, allow it to soften slightly before serving, and don’t forget to give it a dash of fresh grated nutmeg on top, just like a glass of good warm eggnog.


Eggnog Gelato
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Inspired by the French vanilla gelato recipe in Making Artisan Gelato by Torrance Kopfer.
Serves: 1 quart
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and split down the middle
  • 2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (131 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Myers Dark Rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg + extra for sprinkling
  1. Attach the thermometer to the saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the split vanilla bean, then put the bean and its seeds in the bottom of the saucepan. Add the milk and 1/2 cup (100 g) of the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 170° F/77° C. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the vanilla bean pod and return the pot to the burner. Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the thermometer registers 170° F/77° C.
  3. In a 3-quart bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, then whisk in all the egg yolks until the mixture is foamy and slightly thickened.
  4. Temper the egg yolks by gradually adding about half of the hot milk mixture, just one ladle at a time, whisking continuously. Whisk the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan and return to the burner. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until the thermometer registers 185° F/85° C. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from heat and insert the immersion blender into the hot liquid. Blend (aka emulsify) until smooth. (Note: You can also use a whisk and vigorously whip the mixture, or use a blender.)
  5. Make an ice bath in the large bowl and set the other 3-quart bowl on top. Add the heavy cream, rum, and nutmeg to the bowl and stir. Place a fine-mesh strainer on the rim of the bowl and carefully pour the custard through the strainer. You may need to stir it around and press through. Whisk the mixture together, and stir the custard about every 5 minutes until the mixture is cooled, about 30 minutes. Remove the bowl from the ice bath, dry the bottom, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  6. About 30 minutes before churning, set the bowl in the freezer to get the mixture as cold as possible without starting to freeze. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions for processing.
  7. Store the gelato in a plastic container. Press a layer of plastic wrap against the gelato and seal the lid on top. Freeze until fully hardened. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg on top.
More Information

3-quart saucepan
candy thermometer
2 nonreactive 3-quart bowls
4 or 5–quart bowl
stick or immersion blender (optional, but helpful)
fine-mesh strainer
ice cream maker (review)
freezer container with lid

Recipe Notes

Prep Time includes churning time and overnight chilling time.


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