One of the challenges of homemade ice cream is to make the ice cream scoopable, straight from the freezer. Often, ice creams tend to become really hard in the freezer, requiring either patience, or a microwave (30s at 360W) to melt it just enough to be able to scoop those nice round balls. Not with this olive oil ice cream though! It’s super easy to scoop, straight from the freezer. And even though olive oil ice cream sounds strange (would that taste nice at all?) it truly is one you should try if you’re into making ice cream.
Science of ice cream smoothness
From a texture perspective, this ice cream for sure is the smoothest by far of all the ice cream recipes on the blog. Others have other advantages (such as being eggless or using only 2 ingredients), but this one really is super smooth.
Smoothness of ice cream is mostly determined by the amount of fat in ice cream. More fat will give a richer feel and taste. That said, it is also important for an ice cream not to have any large ice crystals. These can make the ice cream gritty or crunchy, which is what you don’t want.
Besides fat and preventing formation of large ice crystals, there are other ways to smoothen your ice cream. One of them is to make a custard. This will thicken the ice cream and make it less watery and richer in mouthfeel.
In this olive oil ice cream it’s probably the olive oil which makes it so smooth. The fat content isn’t that high though, since we’re using milk instead of cream (cream contains quite a bit more fat).
Ease of scooping this olive oil ice cream
This olive oil ice cream (see recipe below) can be scooped super easily, even straight from the freezer. Since it is pretty similar to other ice creams we’ve made on the blog before, I suspect it’s again due to the olive oil. Would the lower melting point of olive oil (it is liquid at room temperature, whereas milk fat isn’t) make the ice cream softer?
Preventing a skin on a custard
Another interesting phenomenon that occurred when making this ice cream is the complete absence of a skin on the custard after it cooled down. When making a custard for an ice cream that custard has to be cooled down again to room temperature. During cooling, a skin will often form on top of the custard. However, when making this olive oil ice cream, that did not happen!
Even an extensive search into an explanation for this observation did not yet give a full answer. Normally, formation of a skin can be prevented by covering the custard with some plastic. It prevent the top from drying out and should prevent the formation of a skin. It is well possible that olive oil had a similar function. It could have prevented moisture to evaporate, especially since moisture and oil don’t mix well. As a result, moisture won’t be able to travel through the oil.
Olive oil ice cream recipe
All in all a lot of advantages of using this recipe. We’ll definitely make it more often and extend the explanation of all the phenomena we see. For now, just make this ice cream!
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This recipe was heavily inspired by Adventures in cooking. This quantity works well for an ice cream machine that requires a little more than half a liter.
- 350g milk (semi skimmed, or full)
- 150g cream
- 75g sugar
- 100g honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large twigs of rosemary
- 2 egg yolks
- 75g olive oil (take one of which you like the flavour, it shouldn't be too strong)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Add the milk, cream, sugar, honey and salt to a pan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the rosemary twigs. Leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes, but an hour will give more flavour.
- After infusing, remove the twigs (if they haven't broken apart) and bring back to the boil.
- Once it's boiling, slowly pour the mixture into the egg yolks while whisking continuously. If the twigs haven't been removed yet, make sure to pour through a sieve and to add all to remove the rosemary. Pour all of it back into the pan. The reason you're adding half to the egg yolks first is to prevent the yolks from cooking.
- While continuously whisking, reheat the mixture again until it thickens slightly.
- Take from the heat and add the olive oil and vanilla extract.
- Cool down to room temperature and place in the ice cream machine once cooled down. Follow the instructions of your ice cream machine.
- When the ice cream machine is finished, put in the freezer to further firm up.