Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olive Oil Ice Cream
To a non-Italian like me, this ice cream flavor initially sounded really strange. I mean, olive oil is almost never served in a sweet capacity, right? We enjoy it dipped in bread, drizzled over fresh mozarella, or poured over a savory soup. But then this past year, I started hearing about other ways in which olive oil could be used in a  sweet dessert.

First, there was the olive oil cake I had in Napa Valley at the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef’s Competition Welcome Reception. Then I started seeing tweets from a certain food blogger who was basically obsessing over olive oil ice cream she had just enjoyed at Momofuku. She then somehow managed to procure a few pints (a secret supply that they keep in the back) from my favorite ice cream place in the world. A week later, after getting this exciting message on twitter, I walked, no I ran, down the street to pick up my own secret pint that was hidden in the back for me.

Though at first it took a little getting used to, the ice cream definitely grew on me. By the third night, I was craving the stuff, and would anticipate my bowl of olive oil ice cream every night.

So of course when I ran out, what did I do? I learned how to make it, of course. The recipe is surprisingly simple, and after doing just a tiny bit of research, I realized that this stuff is actually quite common in Italy. The quality of the olive oil matters a lot, so try to get the fruitiest, most floral olive oil you can find.

Heavy cream is not cheap, and I think most people would agree that making ice cream at home is actually not economical. It probably costs just as much as buying a tub in the supermarket.

The cheapest place I’ve found selling heavy cream, by far, is Costco. You can get a quart for less than $3, which is about half the cost of most places. Half and Half at Costco is really cheap too. As a result, I have optimized most of my ice cream recipes according to ingredients I can easily and inexpensively obtain at Costco.

Definitely don’t skimp on the quality of the olive oil, as this recipe is so simple that the quality of every single ingredient matters a lot. This recipe also makes an ice cream that is not super sweet. If you like sweeter ice creams, I would recommend adding more sugar than what I have added. Personally, I think an olive oil ice cream should not be too sweet. Some recipes even recommend pairing the ice cream with a dash of sea salt on top.
Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olive Oil Ice Cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Dissolve sugar, heavy cream, and half and half in a pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar has melted. While stirring the heated mixture with a whisk, add in the beaten egg yolks in a slow but steady stream. Continue stirring until all the egg yolk is incorporated. Continue heating and stirring over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon (~8-10 minutes). Optionally filter the mixture through a sieve to remove any small egg yolk solids. Add the olive oil and stir to combine. You can put the mixture into an ice bath and stir (like I did) to cool it more quickly before putting it in the refrigerator. Cool the mixture overnight.

The next day, you may notice that the cream mixture may have separated from the oil mixture. Stir to re-mix the two different phases and pour into an ice cream maker. Make ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I personally use a Lello Gelato Pro, which I love because it has its own condenser, which means you can make ice cream anytime of the day on a whim. I’ve had the unit for years and have never had a problem with it. It is very reliable.

Most ice creams that I make need to be put into the freezer for a few hours before they can be served. This ice cream is so thick, rich, and creamy, you can serve it right out of the ice cream maker!

Olive oil ice cream

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Toasted Black Sesame Ice Cream
Simple Lemon Ice Cream
Frozen Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches
Frozen Yogurt (Froyo) Popsicles

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  1. says

    Ooh, I can’t wait to try this. I’m not that familiar with different types of olive oils, though. Can you recommend a good fruity, floral one for this recipe?

  2. Kirsten says

    California Olive Ranch has Arbequina and their Everyday Fresh California EVOO that would be perfect! I recently tasted it at a local restaurant, Cesars in Berkeley, CA, and it was incredible.

  3. Mirauncut says

    was trying to email u some directions for dehydration but the link is not working on ure site. here it is from thomas kellers mouth:

    “At The French Laundry, we make these powders by putting the pulp or purée of a given vegetable on a baking sheet and setting it above the ovens, where the temperature happens to be perfect for drying it… we’ve come up with a way of simulating the effect using a microwave oven. Microwave ovens vary in power, so you may need to adjust the cooking time.”

    Vegetable Powder
    (replace … with the vegetable of your choice)

    1/2 cup very finely chopped … (chopped in a food processor; or use the pulp left after juicing … in a juicer)

    Squeeze the … in a towel or blot on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Line a microwave tray with a piece of parchment paper and spread the … on it in a thin, even layer. Microwave on low power for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the … are completely dried out. Let cool to room temperature.

    Grind the … to a powder in a coffee or spice grinder. Store in a covered plastic container.

    Makes about 1 tablespoon.

  4. Diana@Spain in Iowa says

    I am so making this tomorrow Jen!! Wow, I’m going to add strawberries and see what happens 😀 Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Jessica says

    The froyo popsicle link leads to crunchy broccoli stem salad. Is that a mind trick to get me to eat healthier and not feed into my cravings?

  6. Jessica says

    P.S. I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately cause the heat has put my baking hobby on the backburner. I store the unused whites and make macarons since (thankfully) it requires aged whites and I keep them for a few days before using them. What do you do with your whites?

  7. jentinyurbankitchen says

    I agree, California Olive Ranch olive oil is delicious. I still think the olio nuovo that I had last fall was my favorite, most fruity one I’ve ever had. That’s usually only available in the fall though.

  8. jentinyurbankitchen says

    I wish I had time to make macarons with all my leftover egg whites. Instead, I usually just fry it up with one egg and have a healthy omelet for breakfast! The other day I added some herbs from the CSA boxshare and some sharp cheddar. Yum!

  9. jentinyurbankitchen says

    You’re welcome! Credit is due where it is deserved. :) I am not sure if I ever would have made this if it had not been for all those twitter conversations!

  10. says

    Great post. We make olive oil ice cream frequently, though I try to make it as “healthy’ as possible by eliminating the eggs and substituting milk for the heavy cream. The texture’s not as creamy, but I think the richness of the olive oil makes up for that quite nicely. Also, try this sometime with a homemade chocolate-balsamic sauce drizzled on top!

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