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Skinny gelato will fool you; it takes like the egg-rich Italian version, but it's low fat. Use summer's fresh berries.

Fool your guests with this frozen dessert. Smooth, creamy, and intensely flavored, it tastes like egg-rich Italian gelato--but in reality, it's a low-fat version. We call it skinny gelato. Fruits with concentrated flavor, such as the season's fresh berries, work especially well.

Like traditional gelato, this version starts with a cooked base. Our lean formula substitutes cornstarch for egg yolks and low-fat milk for richer milk. As milk and cornstarch cook, they form a thickened sauce much like a pudding. Stir in fruit puree to provide penetrating flavor and color. As gelato freezes, the cooked base works like sugar to keep the texture creamy, so you can use less sweetening.

Also, like Italian gelato, this version has a rather dense texture and expands very little as it freezes. The recipe makes about 1 quart, fitting in many of the frozen cylinders or other small ice cream freezers. For larger freezer containers, double the recipe if you like.

Very Berry Skinny Gelato

1/2 cup sugar 3 thin strips lemon peel (yellow part only), each 1/2 by 3 inches 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 cups extra-light or low-fat milk Berry puree (choices follow) 2 teaspoons vanilla

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine sugar and lemon peel; with a wooden spoon, press peel against sugar to release oils. Mix in cornstarch. Stir in milk. Stir over medium heat (with a whisk to remove any lumps) until sauce boils, about 5 minutes. When it boils, continue to stir 1 minute. Remove from heat. Lift out lemon peel; discard.

Stir berry puree and vanilla into hot pudding until smoothly blended. Cool, cover, and chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours or up until next day.

Pour into a 1-quart or larger container of a frozen cylinder, self-refrigerated, or ice- and salt-cooled ice cream maker (use 1 part salt to 6 parts ice). Crank or process according to manufacturer's directions until gelato is softly frozen and hard to mix; remove dasher.

Serve or, to firm and mellow gelato, cover and freeze for 1 to 2 hours. Or cover ice- and salt-cooled container with plastic wrap, replace lid, and surround with 1 part salt to 4 parts ice; cover with several heavy towels and let stand for 1 to 2 hours. Serve gelato or store in freezer.

For the best flavor and texture, serve within 3 weeks.

To make hard-frozen gelato easier to scoop, let it soften at room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes for a full batch. Or soften in a microwave oven at half-power (50 percent), about 2 minutes for a full batch, checking at 1-minute intervals. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.

Per 1/2 cup blueberry gelato: 110 cal.; 2.3g protein; 0.8 g fat (0.4 g sat.); 24 g carbo.; 34 mg sodium; 2.4 mg chol.

Per 1/2 cup raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, or boysenberry gelato (all have similar nutritional data): 107 cal.; 2.4 g protein; 0.9 g fat (0.4 g sat.); 23 g carbo.; 31 mg sodium; 2.4 mg chol.

Per 1/2 cup strawberry gelato: 102 cal.; 2.3 g protein; 0.8 g fat (0.4 g sat.); 22 g carbo.; 32 mg sodium; 2.4 mg chol.

Blueberry puree. In a blender or food processor, combine 3 cups (about 3/4 lb.) rinsed fresh or partially thawed frozen blueberries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; whirl until berry skins are ground very fine. Makes about 2 cups.

Raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, or boysenberry puree. In a blender or food processor, puree 3 cups (about 3/4 lb.) rinsed fresh or partially thawed frozen raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, or boysenberries and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Pour into a fine strainer set over a bowl. With a spoon or flexible spatula, stir and press puree through strainer; discard seeds. Makes 1 1/3 to 2 cups.

Strawberry puree. In a blender or food processor, puree 3 1/2 cups (about 1 lb.) rinsed and hulled fresh or partially thawed frozen strawberries and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Makes about 2 cups.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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