Food & Drink

In the Kitchen With: Morgan Morano’s Espresso Gelato

by Kristina Gill

As an undergrad, one of my favorite treats was the Turkish Coffee-flavored ice cream from Swensen’s. It was so good, I was certain that if given the chance I could eat a whole tub of it. I never found another coffee-flavored frozen dessert I liked until I started surveying coffee gelato in Italy. Every so often, not always, I stumble upon a creamy, not overwhelming, not bitter version that pairs well with hazelnut (my favorite) or vanilla (when I can find it). This week’s recipe is for espresso gelato by the founder and owner of Morano Gelato in Hanover, NH, Morgan Morano. Morgan perfected her technique in Italy, and brought it back to the US. In her new book, The Art of Making Gelato, she has developed gelato recipes to make at home in your own ice cream maker. I think it’s about time I bought an ice cream maker! —Kristina

Why Morgan loves this recipe: This classic flavor, found everywhere in Italy, combines two things that Italians love: gelato and espresso. The recipe highlights the importance of using quality espresso; not bitter, or sour, but espresso that is as smooth and creamy as the gelato itself. Flecks of ground espresso help give the flavor more depth, along with adding a bit of texture. Strong in flavor with a sweet finish, it’s exactly how I prefer my espresso. Try it paired with dark chocolate for an irresistibly popular combination.


Coffee maker

Espresso bars are a significant part of Italian culture. They are everywhere, and Italians take their espresso very seriously. Almost all are experts at tasting the difference between good and bad espresso, and I have many friends who drink up to eight shots a day! Like making gelato, the romance of making Italian espresso resonated with me during my first trip to Italy. It’s only right that an espresso gelato should be made with the same attention to detail as Italian baristas give their espresso.

I love both my espresso and coffee light and sweet, and that’s exactly how this gelato tastes. At Morano Gelato, we’ve begun to serve the King’s Row Coffee Company’s espresso blend, which is crafted to pair with dairy — making it the perfect roast to use in our Italian Espresso gelato. The result is a balanced, sweet, and strong flavor that produces thoughts of freshly pulled espresso shots with the perfect crema, or foam, on top.

Italian Espresso gelato is a great dessert to serve at the end of a meal. Paired with Chocolate gelato (see page 48), it’s irresistible. Or, you can try adding a small scoop to your morning coffee for an indulgent way to start the day. Italian Espresso gelato also makes a great frappé when blended with milk (see page 51) — the perfect afternoon “pick-me-up.”

Yield: About 1 quart / 950 milliliters

-2 ounces / 56 grams milk powder
-6.35 ounces / 180 grams granulated sugar
-0.15 ounce / 4 grams espresso grounds
-0.7 ounce / 20 grams tapioca starch
-7.6 ounces / 215 grams heavy cream
-21.15 ounces / 600 grams whole milk
-1.25 ounces / 35 grams light corn syrup
-3 ounces / 85 grams brewed and cooled espresso (just over 1 shot)
– 1 egg yolk


1. Mix the milk powder, sugar, espresso grounds, and tapioca starch in a bowl.

2. Add the heavy cream and whole milk and whisk well to incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the liquid.

3. Whisk in the corn syrup, espresso, and egg yolk.


4. Pour the mixture into a 2.5-quart / 1.42-liter saucepan, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously to prevent any burning or clumping. Whisk slowly in the beginning and increase speed as the mixture gets warmer and begins to steam and thicken. It should thicken without boiling after 8 to 10 minutes on the heat; watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Once the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, continue cooking 15 seconds longer, whisking vigorously. Then immediately remove from the heat.


5. Pour the mixture into a clean glass or stainless-steel bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on top. Allow the mixture to sit 30 to 45 minutes, until no longer hot. Then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 4 hours. If the mixture needs to be used right away, submerge most of the bowl in an ice bath and let it sit 30 to 40 minutes, refreshing the ice as necessary.

6. Once the mixture has cooled completely and thickened further, pour it into the bowl of the gelato machine and churn the gelato according to the manufacturer’s directions. The gelato will expand and should spin until it’s thick and creamy, but still soft enough to scoop into a storage container, about 30 to 55 minutes.

7. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the gelato into a storage container.

8. Press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly on the surface of the gelato, seal the container with an airtight lid, and put it in the freezer.

9. Freeze at least 4 to 6 hours. When ready, the gelato should be firm enough to scoop but soft and creamy in texture.


10. Enjoy the fresh gelato as soon as possible. If using after 2 days, allow 7 to 10 minutes for the gelato to soften outside of the freezer before eating.

(c) Race Point Publishing, 2015.

About Morgan: Morgan Morano is a professional chef and gelato expert. In 2010, Morgan established Morano Gelato after living in Italy, on-and-off, for six years. During college and after culinary school, Morgan gained experience working and cooking in New York City and Italy. Morgan appreciated the bold flavors of gelato found in Italy and noticed the lack of authentic gelato shops with Italian flavors in America. Disappointed with products claiming to be “gelato,” she set out to establish the tradition of gelato-making in America and recreate pure Italian gelato. You can find Morano Gelato on Twitter.


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  • My sons and I toured Italy in the summer of 2015 and fell in love with gelato, we even took a gelato making class! When we came back home, I bought a breville compressor style gelato/ice cream maker and followed the recipes we received from class. While these recipes were delicious, the texture just wasn’t there. I finally started my search for gelato recipes and came upon your book, which I bought. I recently made my first attempts with them and we are THRILLED with the results! The flavors are amazing (I made hazelnut, espresso and raspberry–I substituted raspberries in your cherry gelato recipe), but more importantly, the texture is perfect. It reminds us of the delicious gelato we had in Italy! Thank you for sharing your recipes!