Olive Oil Ice Cream with Lemon and Thyme

Have you ever tried olive oil ice cream? I hadn't either until I came up with the idea for a recipe contest (disclaimer: I probably won't be shutting up about recipe contests for awhile, so bear with me...) We've made many batches of ice cream over the past two years, some have turned out incredibly well and others, well, have not. This one, though, may just be our new favorite. Move over Salted Caramel! Noah and I often joke that we should start another blog called Ice Cream and Cocktails since we obviously have an affinity for the first and if you indulge in ice cream, why not indulge in cocktails too? It's a win-win situation. Unfortunately the powers that be would probably revoke my nutritionist license. Sigh. 

But getting back to the olive oil ice cream. You must try it. The olive oil lends a slight grassy taste that's subtle but intriguing and the lemon and thyme give it more of an 'ice cream flavor', if that makes sense. If we were talking sushi, the olive oil would be the umami taste. I wonder how sushi ice cream would be?   

We ended up straining some of the lemon zest and thyme out of the ice cream base before freezing it, but next time I think I'd leave all the little bits in. They add a nice texture (unless you're a super smooth texture kind of person) and they deliver extra awesome flavor to each bite. I'm not joking when I say this ice cream is amazing. Who would have thought olive oil could be so delicious frozen? And the possibilities are endless! An olive oil-pistachio-orange ice cream... olive oil-rosemary brittle ice cream.... olive oil-marzipan-chip ice cream... I could go on and on!

//Olive Oil Ice Cream with Lemon and Thyme// Makes 2 pints
The trickiest part of this recipe is to not let the egg yolks turn into scrambled eggs. As soon as they start to turn a deeper golden brown and start to firm or gel, add the olive oil and begin whisking. If you do see bits of cooked egg in the finished ice cream base, strain them out before adding the lemon zest and thyme. As I mentioned above, ice cream recipes are completely adaptable. If you're not into lemon and thyme, try another Mediterranean-inspired flavor combination!  

2 cups half and half (1 pint)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of two lemons
Generous tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl or the sink with cold water and adding ice cubes

2. Combine the half and half, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl or measuring cup

3. Set up a double boiler: fill a large pot with about 2 inches of water. Place another metal pot or bowl over the first one so that it sits nicely on the rim without touching the water underneath. See this link for more details on how to set up a double boiler http://www.thekitchn.com/double-boilers-what-are-they-a-132018

4. Bring the water in the bottom pot to a gentle boil (no roiling boils please). Add the egg yolks to the top bowl and whisk until the yolks are runny. Continue whisking until the yolks start to gel and turn a deeper golden color, about 1-2 minutes. If they turn into scrambled eggs, wash out the bowl and try again :)

5. Slowly pour the olive oil into the eggs, whisking continuously, then add the sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Slowly add the milk mixture, whisking continuously. Cook mixture for another 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and thyme. Place the bowl in the prepared ice bath and let cool completely. Once chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Store in a freeze-safe container.