Monday, July 25, 2016

Homemade Olive Oil Gelato


Last week I was given a bottle of extremely high-end olive oil.  Until I smelled it, I didn't realize that there could be anything special about olive oil.  I mean, I knew it was healthy - for years I've been buying big jugs of EVOO at Sam's and using that as my go-to oil for pretty much everything, but I'd always considered it to be simply a healthier vegetable oil.

The bottle I got last week came with a little booklet describing the oil the way a wine connoisseur might describe a bottle of wine - all sorts of "nuances" and "undertones" and "subtle hints of."  There was also a recipe for olive oil gelato which put me right over the edge.  I'd been texting a friend kind of giggling about the description of the oil, and then when I saw the recipe I told her that I would NEVER be such a foodie that I would eat gelato made out of oil.  Yuck.

I should have remembered my mom always telling me, "Never say never, say seldom if ever," because before I knew it, my friend and I had Googled olive oil gelato and realized that it just might actually be worth trying.  We'd been planning to get together for dinner anyway so I decided to go ahead and make it.  

Y'all, I was amazed.  I served the gelato drizzled with a wee bit of oil and a tiny sprinkle of pink sea salt, and it was so, so good!  The olive oil gave it an unexpectedly fresh taste and it didn't come across as "oily" at all.

I looked at several recipes and the ratios of the ingredients varied pretty widely, so I did some quick math and kind of split the difference.  Here's the recipe we ended up using.

OLIVE OIL GELATO - Note that you must start the day before making the gelato!
10 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt (plain, ordinary salt)
1/2 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
salt for sprinkling - pink sea salt or whatever you have

Whisk egg yolks, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, set aside. In a heavy pan, combine milk, cream, and 1 cup of sugar.  Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then slowly pour back into the pot, stirring constantly.

Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 185 degrees.  Pour into a bowl and place bowl in an ice bath.  Continue to stir until the mixture is room temperature or cooler, then remove from ice bath.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface of the cooled mixture.  Refrigerate overnight.

A couple of hours before serving, make gelato per your ice cream maker's directions.  About half way through the freezing process, stop the ice cream maker and add the olive oil before resuming.  Put the finished gelato into a freezer- safe container with room for expansion, cover, and freeze until it is time to serve (at least a couple of hours).

Serve one or two small scoops drizzled with additional olive oil and a teeny sprinkle of pink sea salt or other salt.  Enjoy!

This got my friend and I thinking about other foods that might not sound like they would taste good but turn out to be delicious.  Do you have any ideas we could try?  I'd love to hear your suggestions.



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