Buttered Popcorn Gelato
- 3 cups heavy cream, plus extra if needed
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 cups freshly popped popcorn
- 4 extra large egg yolks
In a very large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Cook, whisking, over medium heat until just barely boiling and the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Add the popcorn and stir until coated. Cover and set aside until cool, about 30 minutes.
Strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, firmly pressing on the popcorn with the back of a spoon to extract every last drop of flavor and cream. You should have about 3 cups of liquid. Add more cream, if needed, to come up to this amount.
In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and the remaining 2/3 cup sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and thick and forms a ribbon when the beater is lifted.
Over medium heat, bring the cream mixture back to a simmer. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the mixture into the egg yolks until blended. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula—making sure you get the sides and bottom of the saucepan—until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula and to hold a line drawn through it with your finger, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. This custard needs to be cooled at room temperature! Because of the oil, it will harden if refrigerated, and the churned gelato won’t have a smooth texture but will be more like overwhipped heavy cream and have a granular texture.
To churn, pour the custard into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately, or for a firmer gelato, scrape into a chilled bowl, cover, and freeze until firm, or for up to 3 days.