Feta cheesecake ice cream with caramelized oranges and olives

Did you just read that title and do a double take?  Did you think that I have totally lost it?  I don’t blame you, except it’s actually really, really good.

Granted, this isn’t an ice cream for someone who wants vanilla, or chocolate, or any other total sugar bomb.  This ice cream is sweet, but it’s also savory and full of ridiculously complex flavors for very little effort.  Sure, it sounds nuts, except that maybe you’ve had olive oil ice cream or cake, or perhaps olive oil and fruit together, or maybe just roasted olives with citrus.  As far as the feta ice cream goes, it tastes almost like cheesecake.

I dreamed this up today as part of the Kitchen Play Progressive Party and Lindsay Olives collaboration: there are five existing dishes using Lindsay Olives, and it’s the competitor’s job to use the olives in a “wild card” dish for the chance to win $200.  So I decided to go big or go home and choose dessert.

Here’s my thought process: olives go well with citrus > olives go well with mediterranean food > olives go well with feta cheese > I bet I could roast olives and oranges with sugar and make a dessert > feta/olive/orange ice cream!

And I was right.

I would serve these with shortbread cookies or an olive oil pound cake.

FETA CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM WITH CARAMELIZED ORANGES AND OLIVES

Note: Prepare the oranges and olives first.  While they are roasting, you can prepare the ice cream mixture.  However, you will need to freeze your ice cream maker’s chamber first, for at least 24 hours.

Special equipment: ice cream maker, immersion blender, food processor or blender, channel knife

Yield: About 1 quart

ICE CREAM:

Loosely adapted from Kid Free Living.

  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2  cup sour cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 egg yolks

Put the feta, sour cream and 1/2 c milk in a blender and blend until creamy.

In a pot, simmer the rest of the milk, heavy cream and half a cup of the sugar.

Mix together the yolks and the rest of the sugar in a separate bowl.

As the cream, milk, and sugar are simmering, add a 1/4 c of hot cream/milk mixture at a time to the egg mixture, stirring constantly (1/2 cup total). When the egg mixture is warm and blended, add to the simmering milk/cream mixture slowly, stirring constantly.  Simmer until thick: about 15 minutes on very low heat.

Add the feta mixture to the pot, whisking constantly.  Simmer 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat.  Pour in another bowl and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, prepare orange and olive mixture.

ORANGES AND OLIVES:

Note: Cara Cara oranges aren’t necessary, but they have a really nice floral flavor and aroma.

  • One 6 oz can of black California Lindsay olives
  • 1 large Cara Cara orange (at least softball sized), zested (reserve zest), then sliced crosswise in rings
  • 1 Cara Cara (or other orange) for zest/garnish
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

Grease one cooking pan or baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Drain the olives and set aside into a bowl.  Zest one large orange; place zest into the same bowl as the olives.  Remove peel and pith from the remaining orange rings until you’re left with little orange triangle-shaped segments. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/3 packed brown sugar.  Toss all ingredients together, then spread across your greased baking pan/sheet.

Roast at 425 for 25-30 minutes, until oranges are caramelized and the olives appear nearly ready to break down.  At the 20 minute mark, start closely monitoring.

Remove the oranges and olives to a small bowl and let cool.  Use an immersion blender to finely chop the oranges and olives.

It might look like this and you might think “ew.”  But I assure you, it’s okay.

Once the ice cream custard is chilled, prepare your ice cream maker.  Add the feta cream custard only, and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.  (For me and my 1.5 qt Cuisinart ice cream maker, it takes about 20 minutes.)

Once churned, layer the ice cream and olive-orange mixture, alternating, in whatever container you use to freeze your ice cream.

To serve: Zest the other large Cara Cara orange in long, skinny strips and layer over each scoop.

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