Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Coriander Seed Ice Cream (Gelato di Crema)

Posted by bakinghistory on June 12, 2007


The almost citrusy aroma of coriander seed gives this classic Italian-style ice cream a somewhat unusual but really delicious flavor.

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi

In “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” 1891–Italy

Vanilla, coffee or coriander seed are among the flavorings that Artusi suggested for this rich and smooth ice cream. Even if today coriander seed is not as commonly used as are vanilla or lemon zest in this type of frozen custard, in Artusi’s time it was often chosen given its lower cost compared to other spices.

An important note about preparing this custard is that since it does not contain any type of starch in its ingredients, it needs to be cooked on very low heat and stirred constantly. If heated at too high a temperature the mixture will invariably curdle. If this happens, the custard can be restored to (nearly) perfection by processing it in a blender until completely smooth–an immersion blender works also very well.


1 quart (1 Liter ) whole milk

8 yolks

1 c (200 g-7 oz) sugar

1/4 cup (30 g-1 oz) whole coriander seed

Crush the coriander seed in a mortar or with a rolling pin, then add them to the milk. Scald the milk then put it aside to cool to lukewarm, leaving the coriander seeds to infuse.

Meanwhile, beat the yolks with the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in color. Strain the milk and discard the coriander seeds. Add the lukewarm milk to the egg-sugar mixture, slowly, and mix well. Cook on very low heat stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. Take off the heat and let cool. Place the custard in a covered glass container and refrigerate overnight. Process the very cold custard in an ice cream maker.


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