Because the story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days, the most iconic Hanukkah foods, such as latkes and sufganiyot — the jelly doughnuts beloved by Israelis—are fried in olive oil. Fried foods are certainly tasty, but they are not necessarily something anyone wants to eat for eight days straight.
Luckily, there are many ways to cook and bake with olive oil beyond sautéing and deep-frying. Indeed, some chefs will tell you that olive oil, with its low smoke point, is not even the best choice for frying. This Hanukkah, why not celebrate the miracle of the oil by making some dishes that incorporate olive oil in other ways? Such as olive oil ice cream.
The first time you hear of olive oil ice cream, you may find the concept gimmicky or pretentious or just plain weird. But it is actually a thing. And if you have ever tried olive oil ice cream, you know that it is creamy and fruity and absolutely delicious with an especially rich, buttery mouth feel. If you are someone who likes a hint of savory with their sweet, then olive oil ice cream is for you.
When making olive oil ice cream, the quality and taste of the olive oil you use will noticeably affect the outcome, so my advice is to use a very good quality, extra virgin olive oil with fruity notes. To really gild the lily, drizzle some of the precious oil over the ice cream — maybe with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt — right before serving.
To balance out the richness of the olive oil, I add a hint of lemon to the ice cream. If you happen to be able to source Meyer lemons, they would be even better here.
Wouldn’t an elegant dish of olive oil ice cream be a fresh and unexpected way to end a festive Hanukkah meal?
Lemon Olive Oil Ice Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 lemon, preferably Meyer
3/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
Flaky sea salt (optional)
- Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. Place a medium-sized bowl in the ice bath and add the cream to the bowl so it will be chilled.
- Combine the milk, the zest from the lemon, 1/2 cup of the sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until lightened in color and foamy.
- Temper the eggs: gradually ladle 1 cup of the warm milk into the bowl with the eggs while whisking constantly. (If you add the warm milk too quickly or don’t get the egg yolks moving, you run the risk of cooking the eggs.)
- Scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining warm milk. Cook over medium or medium-low heat, stirring constantly until custard thickens, is steamy and reads between 170 and 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (Do NOT let the custard boil.)
- Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the chilled bowl of cream. Add the olive oil and the juice of half the lemon.
- Stir the custard to help it cool down quickly. Once the custard is cool, cover the bowl and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight so that it is very cold prior to churning.
- Churn the custard into ice cream in an ice cream maker according to your machine’s instructions.
- Place in a freezer-safe, air-tight container and freeze until hardened and ready to eat.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.