By Nancy Smorch
I can’t believe I didn’t post this recipe earlier!
I was looking through my files for a dessert idea the other day, and I found an old picture of this amazing cinnamon ice cream dessert I had a couple of years ago.
I was visiting my sister, Roseanne, in Fenton, Michigan at the time. She took me to breakfast at a local restaurant, French Laundry (though no affiliation with the one in Napa - I know, bummer, right?). At any rate, it was a great breakfast, and while looking over the menu I glanced at the desserts and noticed an odd-sounding selection: cinnamon ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt!
It was an unlikely combination of ingredients, but given that I absolutely love them all individually, I thought I had to try them together!
My heart started pounding (seriously, it did) because I was so excited to discover something I had never heard of before. I would never have thought to put these ingredients together, even though I absolutely love olive oil as well as sea salt (I’ve been known to tear up after tasting a good olive oil).
So despite the fact that it was late morning, I ordered the special ice cream concoction. When it came to the table, I anxiously took a bite, and my heart swelled up with gratitude (I’m strange that way)! It was amazing - I wish I had a better word to describe this dish because it deserves a word all its own.
I couldn’t wait to share this dessert with my family and friends - I knew they wouldn’t believe me that it tasted so good. They’d just have to try it for themselves and see - as will you, I guarantee!
Since that cold morning in the big city of Fenton, Michigan, I have prepared this dessert for a number of friends. I usually don’t tell them exactly what I’m making. I’ll put the ice cream in the bowl (cinnamon is the best, but if I don’t have that, vanilla will do). Then I’ll bring over the olive oil and drizzle it on top, take some coarse sea salt (Maldon’s sea salt is the absolute best) and put a little over the top of everything.
I love to watch their faces as I do this - they kind of stare in disbelief. I tell them to just trust me and try it. Then, of course, I love to watch their faces as they take that first bite. Everyone is always surprised and amazed by how delicious it is!
I have a hard time finding good quality cinnamon ice cream, so I made my own. I used Alton Brown’s delicious vanilla ice cream recipe, tweaked ever so slightly.
So with my glowing endorsement, trust me in at least trying this one out - your life will never be the same!
Cinnamon Ice Cream with Olive Oil and Sea Salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup (minus 2 tablespoons sugar)
2 tablespoons peach preserves (not jelly)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
I added 1 tsp. cinnamon- you may want to add more if you're a cinnamon fan!
Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.
Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit's instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.
NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil.
Cinnamon, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Ice Cream Instructions:
Place 2 to 3 scoops of the cinnamon ice cream into a bowl.
Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp. of good quality olive oil on top.
Top with 1/4 tsp. sea salt (again, Maldon’s is the best).
Prepare to be blown away! Seriously!