I hesitated for quite some time before buying an ice cream maker. It just seemed like a bulky, one-trick pony of a kitchen appliance. Would it be used often enough to sing for its storage space in a kitchen already bursting at the seams with equipment? I had some doubts.
But I did it. And I regret nothing, and I confess that what put me over the edge is the fact that I was desperate to make the olive oil ice cream from David Lebowitz’s The Perfect Scoop. First of all, it’s the ideal vehicle for all the fresh berries that seem to be raining from the sky this time of year; it’s also one of my favorite reasons to whip out my fanciest, fruity olive oil. You know, the one you try to talk yourself out of buying when you’re in the specialty food store, buy anyway, and cry actual tears when you look at your bank statement? That can’t just be me.
This ice cream kind of has it all — it’s light, creamy, not too sweet. And the strawberry balsamic that serves as the sauce? Please, don’t skip it. As a wise man once said, it ties the whole room together.
Olive Oil Ice Cream with Fresh Berries and Strawberry Balsamic
For the ice cream:
Source: David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop
1 ⅓ cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
½ cup fruity olive oil, the best quality you have
Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set the mesh strainer on top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warm egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula. 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 place the bowl into an ice bath and stir until cooled. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
For the Strawberry Balsamic:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups quartered strawberries
2 teaspoons honey
Place strawberries and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once mixture comes up to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 8-10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and discard the strawberries. Add honey and taste. If it tastes too sharp, add another teaspoon of honey or a small pinch of sugar. Cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator. The balsamic will keep in the fridge for up to one month.
To assemble the dish, place a couple of scoops of the olive oil ice cream in a bowl or dessert dish. Add any combination of fresh berries that you enjoy (I always reach for strawberries and blueberries) and drizzle lightly with the chilled strawberry balsamic. Serve immediately.