In today’s post, a few words about what ended up being dessert to our six-month anniversary meal the other night. I got my hands on an ice cream maker more than a year ago, and quickly went a bit mad with attempting new flavour concoctions: sour cream-brown sugar, rose-strawberry-cinnamon, lavender-blueberry, zabaglione. Those were ones that worked. Alas, I’ve been less successful a few times, too (parmesan or avocado ice cream, anyone?)
One flavour I tackled early on, and continue to go back to time and time again, is olive oil. I first heard about the idea of olive oil ice cream from a recipe I read online that originated in David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop book. I then heard that Mario Batali was serving a version of olive oil gelato in his NYC pizza resto, Otto. So, I tracked down his recipe, too, and after playing around a bit with the ingredients, came up with my own version. Mine’s a bit lighter (3 egg yolks vs. 6 in Lebovitz and Batali’s recipes… or sometimes I don’t use any at all) and less sweet (1/3 cup sugar in mine, vs. 1/2 cup in Lebovitz’s and a whole cup in Batali’s, who, granted, uses double the milk and cream). And it’s stood the test of time, in my kitchen at least. In fact, after trying Batali’s version at Otto, my wife declared my version better. And who am I to argue with my wife?
The eggless version of my recipe follows. I honestly make this and most of my ice creams without eggs most of the time, for several reasons. Eliminating the custard-making process makes the whole thing much, much quicker. And of course, removing the eggs makes the finished product healthier (realize I wrote healthiER, not healthy!). Finally, with several flavours – particularly with this one where the taste and the mouth feel of the olive oil is so intense – I just don’t think the extra creaminess added by the custard is neccessary. Still, if you’d rather make a version with eggs, the custard-making steps are outlined in the recipes I linked to above.
1 ½ cups 1% milk (you can use 2% or even whole if you’d rather)
1 cup 10% (half & half) cream
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup good olive oil (I like to use something Spanish, for intense fruitiness with a kick)
Large pinch of salt
1 tablespoon alcohol (to slow freezing process; I use vodka, since it has no flavour)
- In a bowl, whisk sugar and salt into milk until well dissolved
- Chill mixture in fridge about 1 or more hours (or 15-20 minutes in freezer if you’re pressed for time)
- Remove chilled mixture from fridge and whisk in olive oil
- Turn on your ice cream maker and add mixture to bowl; add vodka early in churning process
- Once ice cream is properly mixed, transfer to a storage container and let it set in the freezer for a couple of hours. This step is optional, but I like my ice cream a bit firmer set than the soft-serve consistency that you get from an ice cream maker.
To serve, I tried something new this time around, as I had just bought a really good bottle of thick, sweet, aged balsamic vinegar. With that as inspiration, I sliced a couple of strawberries, placed them on scoops of the ice cream, then drizzled a small amount of the balsamic overtop and added a small pinch of salt. As I expected, the flavours went really well together, with the slight acidity of the aged balsamic nicely contrasting the sweet and fruity flavour of the ice cream.