Thursday, May 9, 2013

Olive Oil Ice Cream



I had olive oil ice cream for the first time at the little Italian coffee shop down the street from our house.  I took my first bite expecting to get a mouthful of intense olive oil flavor, but what I experienced instead was sweet, silky smooth, and subtly fruity. It shook everything I thought I knew about ice cream and olive oil to the core, and that was when I decided I had to try and make some myself so I could eat it whenever I wanted/all the time.


The single most important aspect of making really, fantastically good olive oil ice cream is to use really, fantastically good olive oil. I connected with Melina's Gourmet Foods and was able to use a small sample of their olive oil to make this ice cream, but before I mixed it into the creamy goodness, I did a little taste test to see if I could tell the difference between their olive oil and some generic store brands. When it comes to determining the quality of an olive oil, color does not always indicate a better tasting olive oil. Instead it is usually indicative of the age of the olives used to make the oil. The younger the olives, the greener the olive oil. There are a wide variety of other factors that go into what makes an olive oil taste good aside from age, like the soil, growing climate, variety, and time of harvest. Like a fine wine, when all of these factors align they can create the ideal olive oil; one that's smooth, fruity, pungent, and with just a small tinge of bitterness. When storing olive oil, you want to keep it in a cool and dark location to preserve its freshness.

Melina's Gourmet Foods is owned and operated by Kostas, a Greek immigrant with a passion for artisanal olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Their olive oil is made from kalamata olives grown in Kalamata, Greece. It's made entirely by hand and contains no artificial flavorings, added filler oils, or preservatives. Their olive oil is also cold-pressed to retain the most flavor possible. For those of you who are unfamiliar with olive varieties, kalamata olives are smooth, plump, and fleshy, and can get so deeply purple that they appear almost black. They're famous for their richness and at times almost fruity flavor. When my parents had their Greek deli, the kalamata olives were far and above the best selling olives of the half dozen varieties they sold.


While the sample I got was in a practical little plastic container, the regular sized ones are sold in these absolutely gorgeous glass bottles that are custom made for Melina's. So once you've used up all the tasty oil, you're left with this awesome bottle to fill with other liquids and show off in your kitchen. I also tried some of their infused olive oils and their balsamic vinegars and became particularly obsessed with pairing the garlic infused olive oil and kalamata balsamic together in a shallow dish and dipping slices of bread into them. This was how Jeremy & I ended up eating half a loaf of bread and the entirety of these two samples in one sitting. The kalamata balsamic had an amazing zing to it; the mouthfeel was very similar to carbonation. Their kalamata vinegar is made using sun-dried grapes and requires 10 years of aging in oak barrels, which results in a red wine vinegar that can compete with the flavor of the best balsamics.

When I did the taste test, I used Melina's Green Gold EVOO, Trader Joe's olive oil, and the generic Ralphs grocery store brand of olive oil. And in the photo above I think you can tell which one is the generic brand. Yep, it's the little pale one at the top. Sad, isn't it? I thought they probably used filler oils, but in the ingredients it only stated olive oil, so it just must have been from a cheaper olive variety not usually used for olive oil-making purposed. But yes, to the tasting results!

  • Ralphs (Generic Grocery Store) Brand (top): I gave it a little dap with a spoon and was met with a very bitter and slightly acidic flavor. It wasn't necessarily a strong flavor, but it wasn't at all a pleasant one. Definitely had the strong bite that comes with olive oil that's passed its prime. 
  • Trader Joe's Brand (middle): This olive oil had a very woody taste to it, which wasn't a bad flavor, just not one that tastes as appealing as a more fruity note. And the intensity of the flavor in the Trader Joe's olive oil was less pronounced than the Ralphs brand. It wasn't bad, it was just pretty flavorless.
  • Melina's Brand (bottom): This one had a much more pronounced flavor than the other two. It was lightly fruity, tangy, and smooth with a teeny amount of bitterness at the end. Pretty much exactly what you're looking for in a quality olive oil.

I served this ice cream at my Cinco de Mayo/Greek Easter party this past weekend and everyone quickly became as obsessed with it as I was. Even my non-adventerous-eater friend tried it and liked it so much that he had seconds! So if you think this flavor sounds weird, know that you are not alone in that thought, but trust me when I say you have to try it. It is so, SO good and has such a wonderfully unique flavor to it. The olive oil adds a velvety texture to the mouthfeel, too. Definitely my new favorite homemade ice cream recipe.



Ingredients:

3 Egg Yolks, whisked in a medium-sized bowl
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Honey
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Heat the milk, cream, sugar, honey, and salt in a medium-sized thick-bottomed saucepan over low heat until the mixture becomes hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and gradually drizzle 2 cups of the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Once the 2 cups have been incorporated, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan, still whisking. Place the pan back onto the stovetop and cook over the lowest heat setting, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened, (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat, and whisk in the olive oil and vanilla extract until fluidly combined. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.


When you are ready to make the ice cream, prep your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Remove the ice cream mixture from the refrigerator. There may be some separation between the olive oil and the rest of the mixture, this is totally fine. Just give it a good whisking right up until the moment you pour it into your ice cream maker. Allow the ice cream maker to churn according to the manufacturer's directions (I have a cuisinart ice cream maker and it took mine about 20-25 minutes to look ice cream-y), or until the mixture begins to freeze up and thicken considerably. Empty/scoop the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Seal it, place it in the freezer, and allow it to freeze for 4 hours before serving.





57 comments:

  1. This is so gorgeous, Eva! And I have never made anything quite like this with olive oil. I typically dont use olive oil in sweets/baking but have always been tempted and you make me ever more so!

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    1. Thank you Averie! This is the first time I've tried olive oil in something like this. I've used it in sweets before in recipes that call for vegetable oil, but I am so happy with how this turned out that I think I am going to try making an olive oil Cake sometime, or perhaps an olive oil glaze!

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  2. Oh man, do I love olive oil ice cream. I first had it with a warm orange syrup cake, and it was delicious!

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    1. Oh my goodness, that sounds like an absolutely perfect pairing! The cake reminds me of this amazing Greek cake called Ravani, it's basically exactly what you described, and thinking about it in my head it would be sooooo tasty with a scoop of this ice cream next to it! A pan of ravani may be in my near future...

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  3. I'm also very very selective about my olive oil. Taggiasca olive oil is my favourite at the moment but I'll make sure to try Kalamata. I like the "tender" atmosphere from these photos! So pretty!

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    1. Thank you so much Aurelie! I had fun experimenting with a lighter backdrop than I usually use. I think I will try and incorporate more of them in the future :) I will have to try Taggaisca olive oil, I haven't had that one yet. It is just crazy how you can dip practically anything in a quality olive oil and it will automatically taste 10x better.

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  4. Haha! We are totally on the same ice cream wavelength here. I've never thought about making olive oil ice cream...how creative! This recipe is my "must make this summer" list. P.S. Quite jealous that you actually have olive branches. You probably picked them in your backyard. :-)

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    1. Haha, yes! I think we are both a bit impatient for summer to begin :) And I'm glad you liked the leaves! But I must admit that I did cheat a bit, those are bay leaves, but they looked so pretty and kind of like olive leaves (also, still a Mediterranean plant!) so I used them in its place :) But boy do I wish I had an olive tree! Being able to cure my own olives would be a dream come true!

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  5. I had no idea there was so much variation in olive oils; I am so educated now! :) Going to have to go out and get myself some really good olive oil because if ice cream is involved, I'M IN.

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    1. Lol, I love your sentiment! I am always down for trying any kind of ice cream. I even tried a blue cheese flavored one once and it was surprisingly tasty! I'm glad you enjoyed the bit about the different qualities to look for in olive oils, I just love using olive oil in my savory cooking so much I'm glad I was able to finally try it in something sweet too :)

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  6. I love olive oil ice cream! I can see why it's become one of your favorites. Jeni's (of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams) recently announced the winner of an ice cream flavor contest they were holding with Food52 and the combination sounded so intruiging: olive oil, saffron, orange, and caramel. It also sounds quite busy, haha. I tend towards simpler and purer flavors, like plain olive oil, and I would love to make this at home. (For some reason, I always imagined that the olive oil would make the ice cream really melty - have you noticed this? My caramel ice cream, which involves a caramel custard, always melts really fast.)

    Anyway, as usual, gorgeous photos Eva! I am in love with the colors!

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    1. That flavor does sound very intriguing! But I agree that there does seem to be a lot going on with that ice cream :) And Lord knows I love saffron, but I try not to use it too much because it is just so darn expensive. Sometimes the simpler flavors are the best, like strawberry ice cream. It's one of my favorite flavors, even though it is not very complex I just love the combination of strawberries and cream by themselves.

      It's funny you mention it melting quicker, because I noticed that when we were eating it! I left the container out on the table outside for about 10 minutes and I already noticed some melting along the edges so I brought it back in and put it in the freezer right away. It also took a bit longer to freeze, usually after the churning process most ice creams I've made are good to go after 2 hours in the freezer, but this one took 4 hours. It was very much worth being patient, though :) If you do try this recipe let me know how it turns out for you!

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  7. I need to jump on this whole olive oil ice cream wagon! Sounds amazing lady!

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    1. Thank you so much Andrea! I bet you would love it, it just has this wonderful texture and the olive oil works wonderfully with the cream :)

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  8. Isn't olive oil ice cream amazing? Love it and yours looks beautiful!

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    1. Yes, it truly is an amazing combination! And thank you so much! I was so happy with how it turned out :)

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  9. This definitely goes into my list of MUST TRY recipes! I tasted basil and olive oil ice cream once at our local ice cream shop and was blown away. On my way back from the store I promised myself to make some myself and then never ended up doing so. That has to change soon. Thanks to you :-)

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    1. You had me at basil and olive oil ice cream. I am SO going to put basil in this the next time I make it, it sounds like such a refreshing combination! Thank you for sharing that tidbit, I am so excited to make a fresh batch :D

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  10. I just bought an ice cream machine, I mean just today and I think this has to be tested soon. The idea to use olive oil instead of butter! Can you imagine the feeling -- guilt free ;) Thanks Eva for this, you rock girl!

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    1. Awww thanks Kankana!! Congrats on your amazing new purchase! I love my ice cream maker, and the best part is you can use it for sorbets or use coconut milk instead of cream, so many ways to make fun and flavorful frozen treats! Enjoy it, you will have such a blast with it this summer :D And if you try this recipe let me know how you like it, would love to hear your thoughts!

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  11. Okay, I'm intrigued. I'll make this very soon and get back to you. I have a feeling I'm going to love it.

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    1. Ohhh yes! Please do! I want to hear what you think. I am obsessed with this flavor now. I can't decide if it's the hint of olive oil or the unique texture that I like more.

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  12. before i read this post, if someone had offered me some olive oil ice cream, i would've declined. now i'm really curious!

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    1. Do give it a try, it is sooooo delicious!

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  13. Talk about craftsmanship and dedication. I imagine it must have seemed like an intimidating task, but it's awesome that you were excited enough about it to give it a go anyway. Even more awesome to see it obviously paid off! Ice cream flavours are one of those things that should never be pidgeonholed—glad you're breaking the rules ;)
    Greece is absolutely amazing when it comes to integrity of ingredients... I essentially wrote a whole post about that (and those olives, of course!) when I came back from a trip last month. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this. It's a nice reminder to start tackling the unknown foodie waters before getting too complacent in the kitchen!

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    1. Oh my gosh, I just read your post and LOVED it. Now I feel such a longing to go back to Greece and visit my family and partake in all that amazing food! Your photos were beautiful, I especially loved the shot of the drying octopus. And yes, I agree that ice cream was meant to be experimented with :) It just goes so well with so many flavors! And we won't know what flavors go well with it until we give them a try, so hurray for eating new foods!

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  14. I love olive oil ice cream and have always wanted to make my own. Your photos look beautiful!!

    Sues

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    1. Thank you so much Sues! It is a real treat :)

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  15. Ahh! I went away for the weekend and almost completely forgot to comment on this!

    I can't remember if we talked about olive oil ice cream when you were here (I think we might have?), but it's one of those recipes in DL's The Perfect Scoop that stuck out to me and I've been dying to try. I can only barely imagine how the flavor actually translates into a creamy, frozen dessert, but I know I will love it, and I definitely need to make it so I can find out! I have that delicious Frixa olive oil that Johnny sent me from the Greek restaurant in St. Augustine while he was down there, but now I also really want to try Melina's. (Especially because that bottle is FAR more gorgeous than this plain ol' tall rectangle bottle that the Frixa is in!)

    Healthy Living will occasionally put out half a dozen or so olive oils for tasting in their cheese department. There are some tasty ones (and also some not-so-yummy ones with acrid aftertastes), but nothing that's ever totally floored me and made me want to buy a bottle. (Which might be good, since a good bottle of olive oil there is probably about $50.)

    Also, kalamata balsamic......WHAT. Omg.

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    1. Wohoo olive oil! I definitely recommend Melina's, the flavor is so fruity and wonderful. And you'd LOVE the kalamata vinegar, the flavor is incredibly vibrant and tastes awesome on salads and breads. The other thing I like is that their prices are super reasonable for a top of the line olive oil. I used to be able to get the olive oil my dad imported from Greece to sell at his deli for free, but now that they'vre retired I've had to look elsewhere for my super tasty olive oil fix, and I am relieved to have finally found it. I use it on all meats and fish and veggies, even whenever I'm frying something (even though they say not to use olive oil for frying because of the low smoking point, but I fry things at a low heat so as not to catch my kitchen on fire) so it is worth spending a little bit more to me for something that tastes 1000x better than the generic store brand stuff for sure :)

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  16. I've seen olive oil ice cream before, but for some reason never tried them. Your photos are so beautiful, it pouring outside here and unbelievably cold, but I still want ice cream now!

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    1. Haha, thank you! I feel proud that I was able to make you crave some ice cream even in cold weather :)

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  17. oooh Eva, nice job. This one looks amazing. I love love love baking with olive oil in pound cakes but have never tasted it in ice cream. Gotta try this :)

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    1. Thanks Dervla! Definitely recommend it, if you enjoy olive oil in cakes you will love it in ice cream. The texture is fantastic!

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  18. OMGoodness...gorgeous, Eva! I could just stare all day at your gorgeous photography!

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  19. I love this concept! These photos are just incredible!!!

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  20. So, tonight I had one of the best ice creams I've ever tasted at The Bazaar at SLS is L.A. Sure enough, it was Olive Oil. I've made some pretty interesting ice creams over the years (try a terrine of layered basil, tarragon, and lavender ice creams!), but have never though of oils. Google delivers me to your doorstep. Great blog, Eva, and beautiful photography. Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. Holy moly, that layered basil, tarragon, and lavender ice cream sounds amazing! I am so glad you found my blog and the recipe for this wonderfully textured ice cream, the olive oil really does add an amazing mouthfeel to it, and of course that slightly fruity and mildly bitter flavor that we enjoy so much :) Thank you so much for visiting!

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  21. I'm excited to try this when I acquire an ice cream machine! It sounds really good...also sounds great with basil as does the one James mentioned with the lavender! I once heard mention of a garlic ice cream and being a garlic lover this sounded quite intriguing. Has a recipe for this ever crossed your path?

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    1. Hi Jannelle! Thank you so much! I definitely recommend giving this ice cream recipe a try once you get your machine :)

      As for the garlic ice cream, I have not come across a recipe for it, but I did try it once in Gilroy, California (it is the garlic capitol of the US, or so they say haha. But it actually does smell like garlic when you drive through the town, so I don't think they're joking), and it was honestly kind of weird. Think vanilla ice cream mixed with raw intense garlic. I don't know if they used uncooked ground cloves in it or plain garlic powder, but it just didn't taste very good. I think it would have been much better if they used roasted garlic, since it gets kind of sweet and buttery when you roast it. I bet you could use a plain vanilla ice cream recipe and just puree cooled roasted garlic into the cooled liquid custard before you add it to the ice cream machine to churn. Now you've got me very intrigued thinking about this roasted garlic ice cream...I might have to give it a try myself this summer and report back!

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    2. I'm looking forward to hearing from you! I started following you on pinterest and plan to check out more of your recipes :) As I recall, the person who spoke of garlic ice cream also had it in Gilroy at a garlic festival. It was a long time ago and I may have distorted the details, but I do recall that they were surprised that garlic Ice cream would taste good, soooo there must be a way and I'm betting that you'll find it! When you figure it out, PLEASE find me...( I now have this image of you in my head that's kind of like the muppets swedish chef...ze mad scientist in ze kitchen!! ;) )

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    3. Eva,

      This ice cream sounds divine. I can't wait to try to make it. I have just found your blog and am impressed by the writing, the photographs and the recipes. I am eager to try so many of them and have been re-pinning like mad today! You have a beautiful, serene site and I look forward to keeping up with you.

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    4. Thank you so much for stopping by and for saying such kind and generous things! I am so happy you found my blog and are having a fun time looking around at all the recipes. Let me know how they turn out for you when you give them a whirl :)

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  22. Never heard of olive oil ice cream before, and I don't own an ice cream machine, but I feel adventurous so I'm gonna try and make it this weekend. I guess I'll freeze the mixture and give it a good stir every 30-40 minutes. Hope it'll come out tasty. It'll be a nice experience, that's for sure... :-)

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    1. I hope it turns out well for you! I've never tried making ice cream that way, the oil might separate from the rest of the mixture since it isn't being constantly churned, you might want to try it the old fashioned way with rock salt and a couple large plastic bags to get some frozen churning going before placing it in the freezer. There are instructions on this method in the link below (ignore the recipe part) Let me know how it goes!

      http://allrecipes.com/howto/how-to-make-ice-cream-in-a-bag/

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    2. Hi Eve,
      It turned out great! Better than I expected! I prepared it before I saw the link to the old-fashioned way (that it, I pur in in the freezer and gave it a stir every now and then. It was great. The oil didn't seperate, the ice cream was just perfect.
      So I took a picture (inspired by your pictures in this post) - and published a post in one of my blogs, with credit and a link to your recipe. It's in Hebrew, but if you'd like to take a look anyway: http://bit.ly/16KcTAl
      Thanks for the recipe. You have a great blog, I'll return for more. :-)
      Tal.

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    3. Oops, that's Eva, not Eve. Sorry about that. :-]

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    4. It looks so beautiful, Tal! You have a talent for photography :) I am so happy it came out for you, it looks perfect!

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  23. We had olive oil ice cream at Salt and Straw on a recent trip to Portland, OR, and it was unbelievable...my husband's favorite! The ice cream there inspired me to buy my new Cuisinart ice cream maker and start searching for unique flavors. Your recipe looks like it will fill the bill. There used to be a little ethnic grocery store near me that stocked a huge variety of olive oils, but unfortunately, it closed. My favorite was Moroccan. Now, I can go to a high end tasting room and purchase a quality Arbequeno (sp?). Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

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    1. I loooooove Salt and Straw! I always make a stop there when I go up to Oregon to visit my parents. Such creative and delicious flavors. I haven't had their olive oil ice cream, but the last time I went there was Christmas and it's not a very wintery flavor so it makes sense they didn't have it. Hoping its there in Sept when I go back up north! And that moroccan olive oil sounds super intriguing! I am going to investigate online and do some scouting, I'm always looking for a new tasty variety of olive oil to try :)

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  24. Ok, you totally got my attention with this one! Gotta try it this weekend–with 1/4 cup maple syrup in place of the honey.

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