neutral stabilizer powder?
Does anyone know what this is and where I can find it? It's mentioned as an ingredient in a recipe for fig gelato from Tyler's Ultimate on Food TV. On their website it says that it's available "online and from cake decorating suppliers". I can't find any online sources - well, I found someone who seems to sell it but the site is mostly in Polish so I'm not really sure what they're saying.
It appears to be made of guar gum, carageenan and similar products which smooth out textures. Does anyone have experience with products like this? In the show Tyler claimed it made a very smooth and creamy gelato with just fruit, sugar and water - no dairy or eggs. It seemed interesting.
I bought the neutral stabilizer powder mentioned in Carb Lover's post from icaffe and used it this weekend. The fig gelato which started all this is this:
Instead of figs which aren't widely available around Boston, I used pluots. I thought the proportions in the food channel's recipe a little off so I used my Chez Panisse Desserts recipe for plum sorbet (1.1/3 pounds plums, 7/8 cup sugar, 7/8 cup water) as a starting point.
I had about 30 oz pluots which I cut up, added about 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. These were cooked until the fruit was very tender. I used an immersion blender to puree everything. Then I added a tablespoon of neutral stabilizer powder, blended that into the puree and let it cool. The texture gelled slightly, most noticeable when the mixture was cold.
I churned this in an ice-cream maker. It made about 1.1/2 quarts. It's strikingly creamy just like a good gelato. When you let it warm a little so it starts to melt it has good body like the egg-based custard gelati. But it has no dairy flavor since it's just fruit, sugar, water and stabilizer. So I'm not sure what to call it, it has the texture of a gelato but not the taste. I decided it was a sorbet, the creamiest, smoothest sorbet you've ever tasted.
Oh, the flavor is simply fabulous too. As num nums says, it beats anything from a store or even a gelateria by miles. I think I could turn this into a fairly authentic gelato by substituting milk for part of the water. Or I could just make fabulous sorbets all summer. The stabilizer definitely helps. It has E410 (carob gum) and E412 (guar gum) which prevent or slow down ice crystal formation.
Thanks again Carb Lover.
actually that episode spawned my current interest in making gelato/sorbet/ice cream when i first saw it a few years ago.
i've made that fig gelato (more precisely it's a sorbeto) recipe quite a few times since and each time it gets huge raves. i've never been able to find the stabilizer mentioned in the show, and even posted on the foodtv site at the time asking about it. since then t have found that guar gum does the trick. it was first recommended to me after talking to someone at a health food store who was very knowledgeable about cooking. guar gum (and other gums like gum arabic) is a common, natural additive that acts as an emulsifier and if you look at labels on commercial ice creams you'll often see it. adding this to any sorbet recipe definitely creates a more creamy texture.
oh, a great variation on that recipe is to replace about a third to half the fig with asian pear puree. actually, pear added to any sorbet recipe not only adds a nice sweet note, but helps with the texture. another thing i've found that helps is adding a tiny bit alcohol (a teaspoon of vodka) keeps sorbets from getting too icy.
sorbets/ices are trickier than ice cream to get right but its definitely worth trying. even more so than ice creams/gelati, home made sorbets/ices beat store bought by a mile. thanks for this post. it's reminded me that fig season is almost here (in toronto)!
This is in reply to Maria K's post directly above. Nutella is a mixture of hazelnuts, chocolate, sugar, plus preservatives. The hazeknut paste cheryl h refers to sold by icaffe is nothing but hazelnuts "refined into a smooth and thick paste" (per their description) presumably so you can mix the nuts into your gelato base without any grittiness. They sell a similar pistachio paste.
I assume most gelato places use these kinds of flavorings, or at least the nust pastes, in their products.
I have purchased from the icaffe link in the past and have noticed they have other powders that produce that long lasting result. I personally got turned on to their ready-mix powders for lemon-ice! I have a Cuisinart I bought at a dept. store, those where you freeze the tub over night then pour in your mixture. The lemon-ice and another flavor called ACE come out really great consistency. The ACE is like a vegetable flavor, containing vitamins A, C, and E; but tastes really good.
Have you used their neutral stabilizer? Can you please give more details? I saw the lemon flavor, does it have synthetic additives? I had some wonderfully creamy hazelnut gelato recently which had distinctly off flavors. I wondered what they used, it didn't taste like pure hazelnuts. It was from an Italian cafe so I think they probably use products similar to icaffe's.
I too saw that show on the food TV channel and have searched on line for info on the neutral powder. I was wondering if Wilton cake decorating might also sell this as Tyler said that they used in for cake decorating also.
As for the hazelnut gelatto, on the Food TV channel under the Everyday Italian program, Giada made a hazelnut gelatto, you might want to go to that website and check it out.. It sure looked delicious..
re: Maria K
Maria, it seem the program was a re-run. I did a google search and found a whole slew of posts on Food Network's forum (didn't even know it existed) looking for the elusive neutral stabilizer powder.
The link Carb Lover gives is to icaffe who import a lot of gelato supplies, including the neutral stabilizer. My question to joeitalia was about the gelato flavorings icaffe lists which includes hazelnut paste. This comes in 5.5 kg cans costing $110. I've come to my senses and realized that this really isn't suitable for a home that goes through about a gallon of ice cream/gelato in a summer.
I'm still debating whether to get the neutral stabilizer, it's about $19 for a kilo.
Hi Cheryl, the hazelnut paste you are talking about is also sold at grocery stores. The one I buy is called "Nutella." It is made from hazelnuts.
It is sold in a small jar. I lived in Spain for about 6 years and used to buy it there. In Spain it is used just like peanut butter. It is sweet and you can spread it on toast and make desserts with it. I believe the amount it comes is about 6 oz small jars. It might only cost somewhere between $4-$5...
As for the stabilizer, I went to a place called Hobby Lobby. I went there to the Wilton cake decorating isle and couldn't make up my mind as to whether they had what I was looking for or not.
They had a GLUCOSE TUB, which is mainly corn syrup...then they had a GUM POWDER which you can mix with the glucose. They use this in cake decorating to make gum paste and make this pliable.
They also had piping gel which they use for writing; this helps the icing to become more flexible. It was also used to make what Wilton calls "stabilized whipped cream," which makes for a better consistency when it comes to frosting a cake.
I was wondering if this would help with the gelato, but there was no one to ask....
I will keep checking and maybe write down more info from the weblink that you were sent...I might just get lucky.
All of the above mentioned wilton products were from about $4- $7...and were small containers...
I will let you know if I find something else...
re: Carb Lover
Thank you very much for the link and source information. I'm curious to see how this works and if I can buy it for not too much money, it might be worth it as an experiment. I'm not really interested in a shelf life of centuries, but the gelato in the show did look appealing and with no dairy or eggs, it's about as full of fruit flavor as you can get.