Gelato at home? Yes!! And this Blackberry and Whiskey Gelato is a good place to start. With a little heat thanks to spicy, sweet pecans, this boozy bite is a perfect ending to a great meal.

three bowls of blackberry and whiskey ice cream on pizzelle cookiesWe Americans love our ice cream. There’s nothing like a big scoop of double chocolate bitter chip from my favorite local shop. Living within walking distance of said shop is dan-ger-ous. And If you’ve been to Italy and had a chance to try it, then you know Italians feel the same way about gelato, which means “frozen” in Italian. So, I set out to make some gelato using my ice cream maker which might seem like breaking all the rules. (Rules, especially of the ice cream kind, are sometimes meant to be broken). To give my gelato an American twist, I used a tich of whiskey. You might say this gelato is where America and Italy converge.

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What’s the difference between gelato and ice cream?

ingredients for ice cream including Crofter's Organic Blackberrry Fruit Spread

Three things:

  • milk -ice cream has a higher percentage of fat than gelato because you use a higher ratio of cream to milk while gelato is the opposite.
  • speed -gelato is processed slow and low incorporating more air resulting in a denser texture while ice cream is processed faster.
  • temperature – ice cream is typically served from frozen while gelato is stored and served around 10-16°F showcasing its creamy texture.

The ingredients

close up of hands holding a bowl of blackberry whiskey ice cream on a pizelle cookie and a bowl

For this recipe, I tried an Italian technique called fior di latte or “flower of the milk”. Fior di latte means the gelato is of the purest milk flavor and calls on three primary ingredients.

  • milk /cream
  • sugar
  • starch as in cornstarch!  Yup, cornstarch.

The process

ice cream container with blackberry fruit spread and pecans and crofter's jar

First, you need an ice cream maker. There are so many great options out there. The most popular is this compact ice cream maker largely because of its price point and reliability. If you plan to make ice cream every week (and I FULLY support that), then I would definitely check out a model like a luxury ice cream churner with a built-in compressor. Having a built-in compressor means you don’t have to freeze the bowl between uses.

Or own an extra bowl. You can make ice cream all day every day at the touch of a button. Over and over and over again. Whichever way you choose, make sure your bowl is frozen hard (meaning you can’t hear any liquid swishing when you shake the container).

Step-by-step instructions

two scoops of blackberry whiskey ice cream in two bowls

While most ice creams and gelatos use a custard base, this does not, as it doesn’t contain eggs. However, you still cook up the milk, cream, sugar, and cornstarch over low heat until it thickens up nicely. Then off the heat, you’ll add the whiskey and a touch of the vanilla. I might have ruined the fior di latte a bit by incorporating the drop of vanilla, but it’s still pretty darn pure! You didn’t know I was such a rule breaker.

Pour the base into a wide, shallow bowl and place in the fridge until it’s chilled and ready for the ice cream maker. You can certainly make the base the night before, let it chill overnight and then process the gelato in the morning. You just need ample time for the gelato to firm up before serving.

scoops of blackberry and whiskey ice cream on top of pizelle cookies with Crofter's Organic Fruit Spread and spoons

After the gelato has processed in the ice cream maker, pour 1/3 of it into a long container which will also be the same one that’ll go into the freezer. Next, open up a jar of preserves. You might want to heat it a tiny bit to spread it easily. Spread 1/2 of the jar on top of the gelato and sprinkle with the pecans. Repeat this step ending with the final layer of gelato on top. Cover the gelato tightly ( I use this awesome ice cream tub ) and freeze for at least 6 hours.

three bowls of blackberry whiskey ice cream on pizzelle cookies with Crofter's jam

About 15 minutes before you want to serve it, remove the gelato from the freezer and sit it on the counter. Try and resist having a taste. Ok, have one taste. Just one. Ok, two.

If you were in Italy, you’d be eating gelato with a little tiny spoon multiple times a day— in as many flavors as can be packed into the small tiny cup. So break the rules…it’s your kitchen!


For a crowd: Make a few batches and scoop the gelato into small cups and freeze in individual portions for a gathering.

For a few: Make the recipe as-is and enjoy!

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!

three bowls of blackberry whiskey ice cream on pizzelle cookies with Crofter's jam
5 from 1 vote

Blackberry and Whiskey Gelato with Spicy Sweet Pecans

When a grown-up gelato is required, turn to this sweet treat layered with whiskey-kissed fior di latte gelato and blackberry.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Refrigerated time:6 hours
Total Time:6 hours 35 minutes
Servings 8


  • ice cream maker


  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3/ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 ⅔ cup organic whole milk, divided
  • cup organic heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ T whiskey, I used Woodford Reserve
  • 1 jar Blackberry Crofter's Organic Just Fruit Spread, or your favorite Crofter's flavor
  • 1 bag sweet and spicy pecans, I used Trader Joes'
  • vanilla pizzelle cookies


  • Freeze ice cream bowl according to manufacturer's directions but you shouldn't be able to hear any liquid splashing around inside.
  • In medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk dry ingredients together for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 2/3 cup of whole milk. Continuously stirring over medium heat as the contents of the pan thicken ( should take about 5 minutes). Heat for an additional minute at a low boil, stirring the whole time.
  • Meanwhile, in a measuring cup combine the remaining cup of milk, heavy cream, whiskey and vanilla.
  • After the six minutes are up and the base is thickened, turn off the heat and add the remaining milk/whiskey mixture to the pan.
  • Pour contents of pan into a wide, shallow glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator until the base reaches 42° temp. This should take about 2 hours. You can also set the bowl over a pan or sink filled with ice if you're in a hurry. But make sure you stir the base before taking the temp of the contents as the center could still be warm. Don't rush this step!
  • Pour chilled base into prepared ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions. My ice cream maker takes approximately 25-30 minutes to thicken.
  • Remove the paddle from container and spoon 1/3 of ice cream base into the bottom of long rectangular freezer-safe container (needs a lid).
  • Layer 1/2 jar of the fruit spread over the ice cream base. Sprinkle with a moderate layer of pecans.
  • Repeat the layering ending with the final 1/3 of ice cream base.
  • Cover the container and freeze for about 6 hours till firm.
  • Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Serve immediately with extra chopped pecans on top and a side of vanilla pizzelle cookies.


  • for ages 21 and over
  • serve with Italian pizzelle vanilla cookies
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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