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Ice Cream with the Flavors of Provence

I enjoyed a black olive ice cream with a black olive caramel recently at HeyDay [2] in Minneapolis. Of course, this got me to thinking about olives, which then led to my day dreaming about Provence. I then remembered the saying, “what grows together, goes together.”

Given that adage, and the fact that olives, lemons, rosemary, and thyme all grow in abundance throughout the Côte d’Azur and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, it was further inspiration for this delicious ice cream.

I served it with poached peaches [3] and a Bretonne biscuit.   The Bretonne biscuit recipe will be coming a little later as I still have to test it again. In the meantime, bake the Scottish Shortbread [4]recipe that’s on my blog.

Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
1 cup (175 g) granulated sugar
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and stems saved
10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems saved
6 large (1/2 cup/108 g) egg yolks
1 tablespoon karo syrup
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup (3/4 oz) chopped dried black olives*

In a medium saucepan mix together the zest, sugar, and leaves of the rosemary and thyme using your fingers to massage the ingredients into the sugar. Set aside for about an hour to allow the essential oils to infuse the sugar.

When ready to make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water. Set a strainer on top of the smaller bowl.

Remove the large herb stems and reserve. Whisk the egg yolks into the sugar mixture. Stir the Karo syrup, milk, heavy cream, and salt into the sugar/egg mixture. Toss in the rosemary and thyme stems.

With a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon, cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of the stirring utensil.

Strain the custard into the bowl that is set over the ice bath. Discard the solids. Stir the custard until cool and then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At the end of the churning process add the chopped olives and allow the dasher to incorporate the fruit. Transfer the ice cream to a container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.