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

Orange Clove Ice Cream

Posted on: December 7, 2009

My First Christmas Flavor!

This flavor was inspired by those dinky little Christmas ornaments they make you make in grade school. You know, the ones where your teacher tells you to stick some cloves in a orange and call it decoration? Then you’re left with a slowly rotting orange on your Christmas tree, and many wasted whole cloves that could have been put to good use. So instead of making one of those, why don’t you make my ice cream instead? It’s very Christmassy, with strong seasonal flavors of orange and clove perfuming the sweet cream base. And instead of using cloves to make an ornament that resembles Pinhead from Hellraiser, you actually get to taste the warm and invigorating spice of cloves.

Orange you glad you made this ice cream?

I used the rind of 3-4 oranges to make this ice cream. I like to use rinds over fruit juices when making fruit-based ice creams if I can. Fruit juices, and particularly citrus juices can make an ice cream base icy if you’re not careful. So for this recipe I steeped the grated rind with some warmed milk, which adds a deep orange flavor right into the base of the ice cream. When grating orange rind, it’s best if you have a microplane (see above picture). This kitchen tool will grate orange rind very quickly and easily. If you don’t have one, you could always use a regular fine grater, but it will probably take longer to accomplish this simple task.

Warm milk and orange- like a creamsicle!

For the sweetener in this recipe, I used honey instead of granulated sugar. I made this decision based on another holiday family tradition of mine- Baklava! My mother is Greek, so every year we come together and make this deliciously sticky treat to give away in holiday baskets to friends. And two of the cornerstone flavors of Baklava are cloves and honey. Orange isn’t a traditional flavoring of this dessert, but I think that orange and honey complement each other perfectly. Especially considering that I used a floral orange blossom honey in my ice cream. To tie all the flavors together and pump up the flavor volume, I also added a teaspoon of orange flower water.

The finished product!

This is my first of several Christmas themed ice creams. It was so delicious! The orange and clove flavors worked great together and were a perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Make sure you use a good quality honey, and grind your own cloves and your ice cream will be spectacular! Its honey and spice and everything nice. Enjoy!

Orange Clove Ice Cream Recipe


1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

½ cup good quality honey, such as wildflower or orange blossom

¼ cup sugar

5  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

12 whole cloves, finely ground,

10 whole cloves, coarsely ground

3-4 oranges

1 teaspoon orange flower water

  1.) Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Grate oranges directly into the milk.  Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil. Take off the heat and let steep for at least 1 hour. After steeping, strain the orange rind out of the milk, pressing on rind for the most orange flavor, discard rind. Heat strained milk until steam begins to rise again.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar and honey. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6-7 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt, ground cloves and orange flower water and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

Going with the baklava theme, you could easily turn this into a baklava sundae! Gently warm some honey with some cinnamon and toasted, chopped walnuts and drizzle over ice cream. You could even butter some phyllo pieces and bake until golden brown and add that to your sundae as well. Top with softly whipped cream. Yum!


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