23 August 2007
Day 12: Olive Oil Ice Cream
Ceci n'est pas une salade: Olive Oil Ice Cream with Balsamic Chocolate Sauce
If you don’t live in Italy or New York, or haven’t spent much time there, you’re probably thinking I’m totally crazy. Olive oil ice cream, what is she thinking?! If you do live in one of those places, olive oil ice cream is probably old hat for you. In Italy, ice cream is sometimes served with a drizzle of olive oil on top and then a sprinkling of sea salt. It’s a surprising combination, but most surprising in how delicious it is, with the creamy vanilla ice cream accented by the best fruity olive oil and the mellow enhancement of good sea salt. Along those lines, Mario Batali’s pizzeria Otto started churning up an olive oil ice cream a few years ago and New Yorkers went crazy for it. It was the hot food trend everybody talked about, and you can even buy it from a special cart in Washington Square Park.
But why spend $5 on a scoop when I can make excellent olive oil ice cream at home? Even though I had enjoyed Otto’s olive oil gelato, I was still a bit skeptical about how my homemade version would turn out. And you know what, I think my version’s even better! I loved this ice cream, it’s not at all oily, and in fact the oil seems to freeze in the teeniest-tiniest little globles that give the ice cream a wonderful creamy but light texture with a burst of fruity flavor. The only specification would be that you’ll want to use the real stuff- a nice fruity extra virgin olive oil.* This is definitely an ice cream I’d encourage people to make: it’s not something you can buy at the store and it’s truly delicious.
Now that I’ve convinced you to make olive oil ice cream (really, you’re going to, right?), you have to try it with the traditional accompaniement: a few flecks of sea salt on top, or even better, chocolate covered fleur de sel. I actually chose to make a balsamic chocolate sauce and I’m pleased to report olive oil and balsamic go together just as well at the dessert table as they do at the salad bar. However, if you are trepidatious, and I quite understand that I may have gone off the deep end of flavor-experimentation, be comforted to know that olive oil ice cream pairs wonderfully with regular chocolate or sliced fruit.
* CARM, an organic Portuguese label available Whole Foods, is a good inexpensive olive oil. I’ve been addicted to the Tuscan Laudemio ever since I started using it.
"You always were a messy eater."
Olive Oil Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch sea salt
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
1. Whisk together the egg yolks in a small bowl. Put the heavy cream in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
2. Place the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add a bit of the warm milk into the egg yolks in a thin stream, stirring to combine, then add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (do not boil or it will curdle).
3. Pour the custard through the strainer into the heavy cream. Stir to combine, then whisk in the olive oil. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (3-4 hours please).
4. Whisk the chilled custard until well combined, then pour into your ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. Store in the freezer.
Ideas for Serving:
- Serve with a few flecks of sea salt on top.
- This goes nicely with fruit, particularly sliced strawberries or some roasted apricots.
- Serve with Balsamic Chocolate Sauce (see recipe below) or pair with balsamic ice cream.
- Drizzle some bittersweet chocolate sauce over top or make Olive-Oil Cocoa-Nib Ice Cream.
Balsamic Chocolate Sauce
1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
2 tbl sugar
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Place the balsamic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer the balsamic over medium heat until the mixture is reduced to 1/4 cup (this could take as long as 20-30 minutes). Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the sugar and chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined. Drizzle over ice cream or use as desired.