The difference between gelato and ice cream is, well, there is no difference. Gelato means something like frozen stuff. Some claim that gelato has lower fat content overall. Whatever. I think the main difference is the temperature at which it is served. Gelato should be, I think, a little less hard when served than ice cream so that you really get to enjoy the texture. In gelato stores, the freezers keep the gelato at an optimum temperature for scooping and eating.
I accidentally achieve this texture with this mocha frozen dessert. I made it and processed in the Cuisinart ice cream maker but only had time to let it harden up in the freezer for about an hour. This turned out to be the perfect length of time. Also, I didn’t get in a hurry with the Cuisinart. I let that sucker keep running until the mixture was totally bound up in the beaters. It was at its maximum frozenness before I hardened it in the freezer.
Coffee ice cream is one of my favorites. This recipe achieved coffee deliciousness by steeping a cup and a half (!) of whole beans in hot milk and cream for an hour. Then I reheated it a bit and made a slurry of it in the blender and let that sit for a while longer. After straining out the beans (but leaving little flecks of bean), I made the custard with it, carefully tempering the eggs before adding them in. I looked at the custard and thought, “This needs chocolate.” I had made some chocolate syrup with dutch process cocoa, sugar, and water. Several globs of this added to the warm custard gave the whole mess a lovely mocha glow.
After the aforementioned freezing process, five of us ate all of it in one sitting. Heaven.