Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Ricotta and Honey Ice Cream

Posted on: September 20, 2009

The Land of Milk and Honey...

The Land of Milk and Honey...

 

Yes, I did just imply that my ice cream was of biblical proportions. Well, maybe it’s not as tasty as the promised land, but it’s still pretty darned good. I actually got my inspiration for this recipe from a little cookbook I have from Food and Wine Magazine called “Quick from Scratch”.  It’s a cookbook with an Italian theme and one of the desserts is a Honey-Ricotta Ice Cream made from store bought vanilla ice cream mixed with ricotta cheese and honey. It’s simple and delicious and very Italian, which are all things that I love. A few weeks ago however, I began to wonder if I couldn’t improve on the recipe by making my own homemade version. The results were fabulous, it churned up like a creamy dream and the flavor combination was both sophisticated and comforting.

 

Orange and Vanilla Bean.

Orange and Vanilla Bean.

 

These are the key flavorings. The vanilla bean adds tremendous flavor to both the honey and ricotta in this recipe. The orange rind enhances the natural floral and citrus undertones of the honey in addition to being a very quintessential Italian flavoring.

 

Steeping in the milk bath.

Steeping in the milk bath.

 

I’m a huge fan of letting flavors steep in gently heated milk for as long as possible.  That way, whatever flavors you’re trying to impart to your ice cream really fuse together right into the base.

 

Churn, Baby Churn!

Churn, Baby Churn!

 

For some reason, this ice cream whipped up exceptionally well in my ice cream maker. It froze quickly, and was so fluffy that it practically spilled out over the sides. I suspect this may have had something to do with the ricotta cheese, which must have added body, accounting for the differences in texture.

 

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn't it beautiful?

 

Spoon lickin' good!

Spoon lickin' good!

 

The finished product was gorgeous both to look at and to eat. The ricotta, honey, orange and vanilla flavors combined beautifully. This recipe is a must for anyone, like me, who loves ricotta cheese. Just remember, ice cream is only as good as the ingredients you put into it. For instance, try to find to best, freshest ricotta cheese. If you’re feeling particularly inspired you can even make you’re own! As intimidating as that might sound, it’s actually a shockingly easy process. There are many easy recipes for it on the internet, so if you feel daring, go  for it!  Also, try to purchase good quality honey as well. I used wildflower honey and it worked nicely.

 

Ricotta and Honey Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:

 

2/3 cup honey

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

1 ¼ cups whole milk or half and half

1 ½ cups good quality whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoons corn syrup or golden syrup, optional

½ vanilla bean, split

2 inch thick strips of orange peel

 

 

1.)    Heat up the honey, milk, cream, ricotta cheese, vanilla bean, and orange peel in a medium saucepan until steaming, but not boiling.  As it is heating up, whisk the mixture together, and if necessary, scrape the vanilla bean to release the seeds.

 

2.)    Once the mixture is heated, take it off the heat and let it steep, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and orange peel and then, in batches, process the mixture in a blender with a sturdy lid.

 

3.)    Stir in the corn syrup or golden syrup, if using. Chill the mixture four hours or overnight. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 Make it a Sundae! – This makes a heavenly sundae with a generous drizzle of honey on top and a sprinkling of toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts on top. Top with whipped cream, if desired. (For the record, I pretty much always desire whipped cream).

Lighten Up!– To lighten this recipe you could use half and half in place of the heavy cream and part skim ricotta for the whole milk.

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