So a couple of weeks ago I was browsing through an issue of Bon Appetit when I came across a Q+A session with Amy Adams. There she was, smiling up at me with those big blue eyes. Having developed a mini-crush on Ms. Adams after viewing Doubt back in January, I immediately poured over her thoughtful A’s to the magazine’s Q’s. One of her responses included something so intriguing, so delicious, that I knew I would just have to make it: Olive Oil Ice Cream.
A cutting edge flavor a couple of years ago, Olive Oil Ice Cream has pervaded ice cream boutiques in cities throughout the USA. I’ve been told that the flavor is as common as chocolate or strawberry over in Italia. But like so many other things, Olive Oil ice cream has yet to reach St. Louis. Us unfortunate midwesterners are rarely up-to-date when it comes to fads—culinary or otherwise. But now that Ms. Adams had kindly enlightened me, I made it a goal to make the “exotic” flavor this summer.
So I set to work researching the right recipe. After an hour or so of scouring the net, I realized that all the recipes out in cyberspace were adapted from David Lebovitz’s Olive Oil Ice Cream. I also noticed that all of the recipes called for “fruity” olive oil. I wasn’t ready to go out and buy more olive oil (I’ve got about a quart of Stop & Shop Extra Virgin sitting in the cabinet), so decided I would just throw in a splash of vanilla extract.
I told my parents that our dessert this evening would be Olive Oil Ice Cream. My dad grimaced violently, as if some invisible hooligan had held a horseradish to his nose. My mom paused, and then said sweetly that it “sounded interesting.” But her pitch betrayed her, it was an octave or two higher than normal. I’ve lived with her long enough to know that that’s her tell But who needs them! I had surprised them both earlier this summer when I made a delicious avocado ice cream. Neither of them believed that would work, but I showed them! Besides, I had Amy Adams on my side.
There are two styles of preparing ice cream—Philadelphia-style and French-style. Philly-style is a little simpler; you just mix cream and sugar and the other ingredients. The French-style is prepared like custard; you temper egg yolks with heated milk and cream to create a really rich ice cream. Anyone who’s had frozen custard (Mr. Wizards and Ted Drews!) knows what I’m talking about. The olive oil ice cream is prepared French-style.
I made the ice cream without too many problems. Whenever I’ve made Crème Anglaise, Pots de Crème, or anything custardy for that matter, I’ve always use a double boiler. According to this Mr. Lebovitz, the custard can be prepared directly in the saucepan. I read this over a couple of times. Udder blasphemy! Puns aside, I was quite nervous to make it this way. While I’m sure it’s faster than double boiling it, I feared that I’d end up with scrambled eggs, albeit scrumptiously sweet scrambled eggs. Since I didn’t have a heatproof spatula, I ended up using a whisk and hoped for the best.
As you can see, it didn’t really work. Well it did pretty much work. There was just some cooked custard on the bottom. I guess that’s why you strain the mixture afterward…
For a few moments there, I was worried that the ice cream wouldn’t come together. What if my astonishing success with avocado ice cream had given birth to a foolhardy sense of arrogance? Would the culinary gods smite me for my ice-cream-hubris?
Luckily, the Gods stayed out of this one. The ice cream tasted amazing. After chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour and a half, I churned it using my Cuisinart ice cream maker for about 15 minutes. The ice cream had a really wonderful taste. It tasted like Olive Oil (duh), but it wasn’t really in-your-face. You know, like (feigns New Yorker accent) “Hey, how you doing? I’m Olive Oil! I’m in yo Ice Cream! I’m walking here!” And my, the texture! The ice cream was so creamy and rich! My only concern was that it might have been too heavy. I wonder if this richness took away from the Olive Oil flavor at all. Perhaps I’ll try it Philly-style and see how it compares…
And for the record, my parents did enjoyed it. Two for two baby!
Olive Oil Ice Cream
(makes about a quart of ice cream, which will feed six or so people, depending on how adventurous they are…)
1 1/3 cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
Pinch salt (recipe called for sea salt, but I used regular)
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup “fruity” olive oil (or regular olive oil with ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract)
What You’ll Do…
1) Warm the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the yolks in a bowl.
2) Temper the yolks by slowly pouring the warm milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Don’t do this too quickly; give the yolks time to gradually increase in temperature. Too fast and you’ll end up scrambling the eggies. Afterwards, pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan and put over medium heat. Stir with a heatproof spatula and keep scraping the bottom and sides to ensure nothing becomes too solid.
NOTE: I’m sure you can do this in a double boiler instead; it will just take a little longer.
3) When the custard mixture can coat the back of a spoon (took me about two minutes), pour the mixture through a wire mesh and into a new bowl set in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Gradually add the cream, whisking all the while. Add the olive oil and whisk until fully incorporated.
4) Allow to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, and then pour into your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturers instructions.