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Teo’s Matthew Lee shares recipe for Gelato World Tour finals entry

Addie Broyles

When the Gelato World Tour rolled through Austin earlier this summer, it pitted some of North America’s best gelato makers against one another.

Matthew Lee of Teo Espresso and Gelato, 1206 W. 38th St., was a hometown favorite and took third place for a gelato he made with Nutella and peanut butter, but this weekend, he’ll be competing in Italy in the finals of the international competition with a similarly nutty but slightly different version made with Texas pecans and whiskey.

He shared the recipe with us before he left for the competition, where he is one of two gelato makers representing the U.S.

Pecan Caramel Whiskey Gelato

4 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

1/2 vanilla bean pod, cut and scraped

2 cups sugar, divided

1 Tbsp. whiskey or bourbon

For the caramel sauce:

5 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup roasted and salted Texas pecans, crushed or whole

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream, egg yolks, vanilla bean and its seeds and heat over medium heat. Slowly whisk in 1 cup sugar. Stir continually so the ingredients bond together. Do not let it boil, so turn the heat down to low if necessary. When the mixture reaches 160 degrees, remove from heat and continue to stir as the mixture cools. Pour the mixture into a bowl and place in the refrigerator. Stir intermittently until the mixture has cooled.

While the base mixture is cooling, make the caramel sauce. Add 1 cup sugar to a heavy saucepan, heat on medium and stir. Don’t have heat too high because you’ll burn it fast. A thicker pot is better for temperature control. Once the sugar has melted and is golden in color, remove from heat and continue to stir. Quickly stir in the butter taking care to stand back because it can spatter. Stir until it’s all incorporated and then add the cream and continue to stir. Place in the refrigerator to thicken.

Once the base mixture has cooled to 40 degrees, pour into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for churning time. As the ice cream freezes and starts to solidify, sprinkle the pecans into the ice cream maker followed by caramel sauce.

After the gelato is nearly finished in the machine, add the bourbon and continue to churn for another minute or two. Remove the gelato from the machine and place it in a freezer-safe container and into the freezer for at least an hour.

— Matthew Lee, owner of Teo Espresso and Gelato