Six summers ago, my summer roommate and I fantasized about a cheese flavored ice cream. The next day, I wrote a letter to my favorite ice cream company, Turkey Hill, asking them to seriously consider churning out cheese flavored ice cream. A few weeks later, I received a thin envelope, postmarked from Conestoga, PA (Turkey Hill headquarters). In it, it was like a college rejection version of an ice creamery rejection letter. It went something like,
Each year we receive hundreds of submissions for new ice cream flavors. We appreciate your suggestion but regret to tell you that we can’t honor every flavor. [insert more fluff]
On the bright side, it was totally worth it because every year since, Turkey Hill sends me a 12 month calendar that features ice cream flavors, photographs, etc… complete with a coupon for each month! So if you love Turkey Hill ice cream, you know what to do- send them a letter.
Now that you’ve heard my cheese flavored ice cream story, olive oil ice cream doesn’t sound too out there, does it now? I remember when I first brought it up at dinner on Sunday night. Clare, Glen, and Alex all made this face. Only Glen was daring enough to say that he’d “try” it but couldn’t guarantee that he’d enjoy it. But Mario Battali’s Otto in New York City serves olive oil gelato. Laboratorio del Gelato also serves olive oil gelato, though I heard it’s not as good. And even David Lebovitz, who can do no wrong as the ice cream connoisseur, has a recipe in The Perfect Scoop for olive oil ice cream. So if olive oil ice cream can make it past a celebrity chef, management at a gelateria, and a book publisher, don’t you think you should give olive oil a chance?
Anyway, I just had to try it. I halved the recipe in fear that I’d hate the results but actually… I LOVED IT! It still doesn’t beat mint flavored ice cream, but it sure as heck beats that butter pecan or even cheesecake flavored ice cream. Many blogs suggest serving it with Fleur de Sel, which I neither have nor can afford, so I tried it with table salt. Absolutely terrible. The salt did it’s job by enhancing the olive oil flavor 10x. David Lebovitz suggested serving it with a “lean chocolate sauce.” How, chocolate sauce can be lean is beyond me, but since Lebovitz can do no wrong, I melted some bittersweet chocolate and drizzled it all over the ice cream. That was a winner.
Olive oil ice cream
from The Perfect Scoop
1 1/3 cups (330 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 ml) fruity olive oil
*This is not the time to be cheap in your choice of olive oil because whatever your olive oil tastes like will directly reflect how your ice cream tastes. I didn’t use a fruity olive oil, but used a high quality extra virgin olive oil that had this sensuous aroma to it.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Make sure that you don’t over cook it or else you’ll get scrambled eggs. It’s better to err on the safe side by turning off the heat when the custard just slightly thickens because the heat in the pot will continuously cook the mixture. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.
Whisk the olive oil into the custard vigorously until it’s well blended, then stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.