Can ice cream be a health food?
This hybrid of creamy gelato and frozen yogurt will keep your good little tummy bugs and your summer sweet tooth happy.
So what makes a “probiotic gelato”? Why isn’t it frozen yogurt and why isn’t it ice cream?
Frozen yogurt is typically made without heavy cream or eggs yolks, the usual base for ice cream.
Gelato can be made with heavy cream and egg yolks, but it usually includes more milk and less cream than ice cream, and is churned more slowly. Some gelato recipes also call for cornstarch to help get the right consistency. I used arrowroot powder instead of corn starch, and while I do recommend arrowroot, either will work.
This recipe has a gelato base with whole fat European-style yogurt substituted in for a portion of the milk and cream. Whole fat milk and cream, as well as egg yolks, are wonderfully nutrient-dense — especially when they come from organic, grass-fed sources.
You need an ice cream maker for this recipe. If that isn’t a possibility for you, you could try to freeze the base in ice cube trays and blend them in a blender or food processor until smooth, but you won’t have the same texture as with a slow-churning ice cream maker.
My favorite thing about this recipe is the roasted peaches. In my opinion, peaches are one of the best fruits of the season (right next to watermelon and berries). With a sprinkling of Rapadura, cinnamon, and butter slathered over the peaches, they caramelize and intensify in flavor. This gelato is rich and decadent, but the bit of yogurt we use for the “probiotic” part gives it a refreshing tang.
Roasted Cinnamon Peach Probiotic Gelato (Honey-Sweetened)
- 5 to 6 peaches ripe, sliced in halves, pits removed
- sucanat or rapadura for sprinkling
- ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- grass-fed butter
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch if necessary
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups raw and/or whole milk
- 2 cups yogurt whole fat European-style, not thick Greek-style yogurt
- 8 organic or pastured egg yolks
- 1 vanilla bean sliced in half lengthwise
If you are using an ice cream maker, place freezing bowl in the freezer for 12 to 24 hours before using, if required.
To roast the peaches, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the halved peaches, flesh-side up, on a large baking sheet.
Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon liberally over each peach half.
Place a small piece of butter in the center of every peach.
Roast the peaches for 30 to 40 minutes until caramelized.
Let the peaches cool completely.
Carefully remove the skins of the peaches while letting the rest of the peach flesh fall into a mixing bowl.
Add any caramel remaining in the baking dish to the peaches.
Roughly chop the peaches and caramel together into a very chunky mixture, then set aside.
Whisk the honey, arrowroot powder, salt, cream, milk, and yogurt in a medium saucepan or stockpot until smooth.
Place over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is very warm.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with a cup of the warm cream mixture.
Whisk the egg mixture back into the rest of the cream mixture in the pan.
Use a small knife to scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean, then add the seeds with the whole bean into the pan with the cream and egg mixture.
Stir continuously over medium heat until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a refrigerator-safe container, discarding solids.
Stir the caramelized peach mixture into this custard base, then cover and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 8 to 12 hours.
Carefully pour the cooled gelato mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture turns into creamy, frozen, soft-serve gelato.
Gelato may be kept in the freezer in an airtight container but it needs to defrost a little before serving, otherwise it’s too hard to scoop or eat enjoyably.
Looking for more pro-biotic rich treats?
- Healthy Probiotic Pomegranate Mousse
- Probiotic Mint Chocolate Chip Popsicles (dairy-free option!)
- 3-Ingredient Mixed Berry Kefir Popsicles (probiotic & kid-friendly!)
- Off-Grid Lime Kefir Ice Cream With Fermented Blueberry Syrup
- Probiotic Chocolate Ice Cream
- Probiotic Watermelon Strawberry Fruit Sorbet
Enjoy! Do you love gelato, too? How about probiotic gelato? What is your favorite flavor or recipe? Be sure to let us know how you like this recipe!
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Won’t heating the yogurt kill all the probiotics? Can you add the yogurt after it has cooled
Roz Mignogna says
Great question, Miranda. You could add the yogurt later but you might get a different result in texture because of the egg custard working through the mixture. It is generally thought that good bacteria and enzymes begin to get “burned away” between 110 to 120 degrees F. Many “raw” foods can be considered raw still if it doesn’t get heated past 180 degrees F. Heating the egg mixture to coat the back of a spoon doesn’t need to be very hot- probably under 120 degrees, just too hot to touch. I hope that helps. 🙂
Jenny Cazzola says
This looks sooo good! And I’m delighted to find a natural gelato recipe. My husband loves it and I’ve been wanting to make some for him. Where do you find your European style yogurt and could I substitute other fruit for the peaches?
Roz Mignogna says
Hey Jenny! I get my European style yogurt either at a co-op we are part of or Trader Joe’s! You could literally use ANY fruit that is good for roasting- including berries and other stone fruits. Roast the fruit the same way, but some fruits may not go so well with cinnamon, so just eliminate that if it doesn’t sound good to you.
Jenny Cazzola says
We just finished our homemade vanilla ice cream last night so I will locate some yogurt and give this a try. Thanks so much!
I have never seen European-style yogurt around here. What do you suggest as a substitute?
Roz Mignogna says
Hey Sharon! Any whole milk, plain yogurt that is high quality so it has a good “tang” to it. I’ve found Bulgarian yogurt and other non-name-brand yogurts in health food stores that are very traditional and I can tell from the “tang” and the way the labels explain how they are made that there are real active bugs cultured in the yogurt.
Carole from France says
Well, this ice-cream has an interesting flavor ! And this year ( in France anyway) the peaches are fantastic (the cherries and apricots as well), so I feel that we are going to gorge on this dessert pretty often… Thanks Roz for sharing this recipe !
I made yogurt from raw cows milk. Could I use that? And do you think cherries would work? Thanks!
This looks just perfectly yummy – I might give it a try with my Jersey cow kefir as its so thick like yoghurt but I might add it in separately to avoid breaking down the good bacteria as in your previous suggestion. Thank you for such a lovely recipe.
Dona Landrum says
I make yogurt from raw milk, it is somewhat thick. Would that work for the yogurt needed in this recipe???
Celia Smith says
I cannot eat eggs and really miss them in so many ways, especially good ice cream. Has anyone made this without eggs?
This sounds amazing! One question, could I substitute homemade milk kefir? Thanks for sharing!
Angela Waterford says
It’s great to know that gelato can be added with probiotics to make it healthy. I think I’ll go to a homemade ice cream shop to try this out for myself if they’re offering it. The summer months will be unbearable for me to last the day without eating ice cream again, but since I don’t want to gain too much fat from eating unnecessary sugar, maybe going for a healthy alternative might be a good compromise.