Charlie Trotter Ice CreamCharlie Trotter’s Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Whole Roasted Fig. Photo courtesy Charlie Trotter | Chicago.




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June 2005
Last Updated August 2013

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Ice Cream & Sorbet

Sweet & Savory Cheese Ice Cream Recipes

Add the Sugar or Hold the Sugar: Ice Cream Recipes Made With Cheese


CAPSULE REPORT: We cried because we had no Parmesan ice cream sandwiches...and then we met a man who had never tasted them at all. If you love ice cream and you love cheese...can you help but fall in love with cheese-based ice creams? Yes, you serve them for dessert, as you would a cheese plate. You can completely hold the sugar and go savory, or you can have something resembling frozen cheesecake. This is Page 1 of a five-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.


Savory cheese ice cream is not a cutting-edge culinary concept: you can find Formaggio Gelato or Formaggio di Parmigiano in older Italian cookbooks. It replaced the cheese course at the end of summer lunches; and was cut in slices and served as a starter with ham and hard-boiled eggs. You can update it to a first course in a parfait with prosciutto and melon; or go for a cheese course of parmesan, cheddar, and stilton gelati.

The basic Italian recipe is simple: grate one pound of Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, combine with one quart of cream, a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir over a moderate flame until the mixture becomes creamy, then remove it, cool, strain, and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze it in a container and stir at regular intervals.

It’s appropriate that we lead off with Parmesan ice cream, because an Italian invented ice cream (although the first flavor out of the gate was definitely not Parmesan). As with pasta, the original concept, sherbet, came from the Chinese. They introduced it to the Persians and Arabs, who in turn introduced it to the Italians. Chinese sherbet was prepared with fruit juices, honey and aromatics spices, and frozen in the snow. Pasta and sherbet arrived with the Arab invasions of Sicily in the fifth century. Italian granita was born, flavored with fresh citrus, a wide range of fruits, and coffee.

It took until the 1500’s in Florence, for architect and set designer Bernardo Buontalenti to invent gelato, enriched with cream and eggs. Its spread to the rest of Europe, starting with France, is attributed to another Italian, Catarina de’ Medici, who married the future King Henri II of France (only 14 when she married, no wonder she liked ice cream).

The recipes of some of our favorite cheese ice creams follow. If you’d like to share some of your own, click here to tell us about them.

Continue To Page 2: Ferran Adrià’s Parmesan Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe

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