Thursday, September 25, 2014

Low Carb Olive Oil and Toasted Pine Nut Ice Cream

Molly Moons Homemade Ice Cream book has some interesting flavor combinations, but not many can be converted to low carb. This one jumped out at me not only because it’s easy to convert, but because of its unique ingredients: pine nuts (pignolis) and olive oil. One cup of pine nuts have 13 g of net carbs, so while they might not exactly be keto on their own, spread out in a quart of ice cream should dilute the carbohydrates effectively. I didn’t have to fire up the oven because the pine nuts I picked up from Trader Joe’s were already dry roasted.

The Molly Moon book doesn’t provide much guidance on what olive oil should be used. The Perfect Scoop book by David Lebovitz also has an olive oil ice cream recipe and recommends a “fruity” olive oil.
Olive oil ice cream pairs remarkably well with summer fruits such as strawberries and apricots, and if you use a fruity Spanish Arbequina olive oil, you’ll find this ice cream is sublime drizzled with Lean Chocolate Sauce too. Be sure to try it flecked with a few grains of coarse sea salt over the top.
O-o-o-o-o-kay. I went to a few places that have a large olive oil selection to find one appropriate for ice cream. Fairway market even had an area where I could sample them. Quite frankly, I can’t tell the difference between the ones that claim to be fruity and the ones that are supposed to be peppery. I can say that many of these high end olive oils don’t have a strong olive flavor, at least not compared to an inexpensive olive oil like Walmart brand. I settled on this one simply because it explicitly claimed it was fruity on the label and it was the kind recommended by David:

California Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The California Olive Ranch website even suggests you “try it atop ice cream.” David uses double the olive oil in his ice cream compared to Molly, but I wanted to play it safe. I had my doubts about the idea of an olive oil ice cream, so I thought it best to keep it to a ¼ cup.

The first batch was outstanding! I can’t believe how good this ice cream tastes! My brain keeps thinking it’s going to taste like a Greek salad, but my tongue is telling me otherwise. More experimentation! I went to the pantry and poured a little on top. Again, it was really good! I don’t fear this ice cream concoction anymore. I tried doubling the olive oil as per David ‘s recipe on the next batch. I could sense the olive oil’s slightly peppery notes and the ice cream had an obviously oilier texture. I don’t recommend using a half cup of olive oil, but different strokes for different folks. A word of warning: olive oil is very calorie dense. The calories per serving will shoot up the more oil used, so keep that in mind if you care about such things.

Jeni from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has pretty much the same recipe except that she uses a cup of “salted roasted pepitas,” which is a fancy way of saying salted roasted pumpkin seeds.


Low Carb Sweet Cream Base
¼ cup (55 g) extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz (114 g) (between ¾-1 cup) pine nuts, roasted


  1. If using raw pine nuts, preheat the oven to 325 °F. Spread the pine nuts onto a baking sheet and bake, stirring halfway through, until fragrant and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully, as they will burn easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Put the pine nuts in the empty ice cream container when they’ve cooled sufficiently.
  2. Put the container for the ice cream including its cover upright in the freezer now. This serves two purposes: it keeps the container cold and it forces you to make sure that there’s space in the freezer.
  3. Follow the instructions for the Low Carb Sweet Cream Base except slightly reduce the amount of heavy cream. (E.g., 2⅛ cups instead of 2¼ cups of heavy cream.) Cover and chill if necessary.
  4. Follow your ice cream maker’s directions for making ice cream. Add the olive oil as soon as the churning begins. During the last minute of processing, add the pine nuts. Use a silicone spatula to remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker and freeze until solid.

Scoop of ice cream.

Scoop of ice cream.

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