Sweet Orange Ice Cream

11 Sep
A small bowl of pale yellow ice cream - french vanilla colour - viewed from above.

Artistic outside photo for the light didn't actually improve my photography skills. Sigh.

Well, it’s been awhile, for a whole range of reasons. First my computer’s card chip reader stopped working, meaning I could take, but not use, photos of food. And since I’d taken photos I didn’t want to go and make the posts without them. Then I entered a prolonged food funk, where everything I made came out … not exactly the way I had envisioned it, none of my modifications worked, and basically all I was good for was making Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies and spaghetti bolognese. This was depressing, but fine, because there are after all much worse things than spaghetti bolognese twice a week for a month. Then I could cook (but not bake), and only if I followed a recipe exactly – and something just seems wrong to me about posting food that’s freely available on a million other blogs (for the record though I made this tofu & brussel sprouts dish about 1000 times during that period, it is AMAZING.)

Finally I decided yesterday that there was nothing for it but to power through making something I’d never even thought about making in my life before and, since Laura at Hungry and Frozen had just posted Seven Habits of Highly Effective Ice Cream Makers, I felt immediately galvanised and ready. (Check our her shiny new URL, by the way.)

Also, I had approximately a crapload of very over-ripe navel oranges. With the exception of my mother’s profiteroles, I’m not actually a big fan of citrus in baking. I love oranges and lemons and limes – in cooking. But orange muffins leave me cold, I dislike lemon cakes and frostings, and I can usually eat a couple of spoonfuls of lemon meringue pie before I make a face because it’s just too damn sweet. (This doesn’t stop me from making a good lemon meringue pie, mind you, because a lot of people in my life apparently flip for it. But I’m not really a fan.) So I thought, well, what ice cream flavour is more classic and delicious and yet not boringly vanilla than orange?

Sweet Orange Ice Cream
Adapted from this epicurious recipe.


1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
1 pinch salt
2 navel oranges or enough to produce 1/2 C juice when squeezed
1/2 cup sugar
2 t triple sec
4 egg yolks


1. Zest both the oranges. Roll them around a little on the chopping board before slicing them in half and juicing them. You want about half a cup of freshly squeezed juice. Pick the seeds out if you’re, you know, me. Add the triple sec to the juice and set aside.

2. If you’re me and only have a grater with enormous, um, what are they called? Well, whatever, my grater is crude and produces ginormous strips of cheese, orange zest, etc. So I diced the zest a little more finely.

a small pile of orange zest on a chopping board in the foreground, two oranges in the background

yeah, so now all my my photos are taken with my ipod. I know they're hiddy, blame apple.

3. Place half the orange zest, the milk, the cream, the salt, and 1/4 C of sugar in a largeish, heavy-bottomed pan, and heat slowly until it boils. Set aside and allow to cool and infuse for half an hour.

A stainless-steel pot on a stove with milk, cream, and orange zest in it. The zest is visible at the top.

I love working with zest; it just can't help but be pretty.

A stainless-steel pot on a stove, with a creamy yellow liquid
This isn’t my shitty camera, it actually went more yellow.

4. Beat the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 C sugar until thick and pale – a minute or so with an electric mixer.

a bowl with four egg yolks, not very well separated tbh, and eggshells in the background

Check out my crappy egg-separation job!

5. Prepare two bowls set inside each other: one large bowl filled with ice and cold water, and a smaller bowl (preferably metal or something that conducts heat well) placed inside.

5. Add the milk mixture in a thin stream, beating away. When the milk mix is all incorporated, return the custard to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of the spoon and thickens a little. (Note, I found this bit really terrifying. What you want to be able to do is draw your finger in a channel down the back of the custardy spoon and have the mix not run in and fill the gap. However, at this point my custard was still fairly runny, and so I basically held my breath closed my eyes and kept stirring until it had thickened further – not to the usual point I’d expect a custard to go to, but quite thick.)

6. Strain the custard through a sieve into the metal bowl, and beat (I think by hand at this stage) for ten or fifteen minutes until the mixture has completely cooled.

7. Stir in orange juice, remaining orange zest, and triple sec. Now you can put it in your ice cream maker. Ahahah. Or, if you’re more like me and everyone I know and too broke/space-poor for such fancy-pants machinery, pour into a container or, probably, two containers (I used the metal bowl and an old ice-cream container) in as thin a layer as you can manage.

8. Freeze. Check on the containers periodically. About every 45 minutes or an hour or possibly half an hour depending on how thin your layers were, get in there with a whisk or spoon or fork and beat the shit out of the ice cream, breaking up ice crystals and trying for an even texture. Note, this took me for. ever. There are a few possible reasons including having upped the fat content, but I think the guilty party was the triple sec. I added a full tablespoon which is obviously quite a lot and it basically took all afternoon/evening. So I halved it here and it should take a more reasonable three or so hours – I hope. (Let me know, eh?)

9. Before it freezes completely solid you can add things like chocolate chips or a chocolate sauce ripple or something else fancy. I think this happens when you’re at, like, soft-serve consistency, so the stuff doesn’t sink to the bottom.

10. Eat! And check it out, my first ice cream and it is though I say it as shouldn’t effing delicious.

A small bowl of a pale yellow ice cream - basically french vanilla colour - sitting on a window sill.

The reason it didn't scoop well is because I don't have an ice cream scoop & therefore can't get those pretty curly spheres.


10 Responses to “Sweet Orange Ice Cream”

  1. hungryandfrozen 11/09/2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Lemon Meringue Pie doesn’t ring my bell either, too sweet (even though separately I love pastry, lemon curd, and meringue…hmm). In my head I said YAY when I saw this, guess I have to accept that I’m weirdly over-invested in people’s ice cream making. And thanks for the shout-out!

    This sounds really delicious, love that it uses all that zest in it.

    • Tui Head 13/09/2011 at 7:43 pm #

      Yeah, that’s how I feel about it! although I don’t like lemon curd, so.

      Heh, I’m glad you posted all those tips, because I never would have done this otherwise and it was huge fun!

  2. Rose 11/09/2011 at 1:41 pm #

    This is the frist time I have read an ice cream recipe and wanted to make it. Sounds really orangey and tasty!

    • Tui Head 13/09/2011 at 7:41 pm #

      It was really very good, IMO, although ask Mum & Dad for a second opinion if you want!

  3. NickS 13/09/2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Damn that sounds tasty, now to find some work on SJS and get the liquor 😀

    Since it’s comfort food time…

    Also, any chance you’ll post the recipe for those triple choc cookies you made in the Clarence St flat? Because I’ve tried trice and not really succeeded.

    • Tui Head 13/09/2011 at 7:39 pm #

      Hey you! What are you doing with yourself these days?

      Those cookies! I haven’t made them for ages. I believe they were these ones: http://www.marthastewart.com/339686/outrageous-chocolate-cookies with some white choc chunks substituted for some of the milk chunks. I used whittaker’s dark ghana for the melting choc and bittersweet for the chunks 🙂

      • NickS 13/09/2011 at 8:20 pm #

        Got kick banned from CPIT for non-attendance actually, so it’s back to the sickness benefit unless some part time, long term work shows up on SJS :/

        I heart long term depression making life interesting.

        Otherwise mostly sane (+ sleeping normally for 2 years now), aside from turning into a chilli head and looking seriously at making some delicious Mexican mole sauces + stuffed chilli’s and getting back (again) into complex origami.

        And thanks for teh source, next time I go tramping overnight I plan to make some up for dessert/back to the cars nosh, possibly served with instant custard 😀

    • Tui Head 13/09/2011 at 7:41 pm #

      Oh, psst – you could probably do it without the liquor, or substitute vodka or something, and it would still come out pretty similar 🙂

      • NickS 13/09/2011 at 8:33 pm #

        I only have rum at present 😦

        And I definitely want the liquor as I know how much of a difference it can make in taste from the non-baked cheesecakes that were made at the bakery I used to do weekends at.

        Though I could always steep orange slices in some vodka…

      • NickS 12/10/2011 at 3:34 pm #

        Found a mini bottle of Cointreau for around $5.30, used too much though (2 tbsp) + put in too much orange juice so it took forever to freeze and it’s a bit icy, but utter delicious. Going to bump out the fat content though and mix it every 30 minutes with teh ice cream maker, and not grate dark choc into it instead of being lazy and not smashing it up with the mortar and pestle…

        And a tip on the custard, it’s done when it’s about as thick as a standard white sauce or if done in a medium pot/pan you can see the bottom briefly when you swish the spatula through it.

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