Make Ahead

Olive Oil-Saffron Ice Cream with Burnt Orange-Caramel Swirl

August 27, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 5 hours
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes about 1 quart
Author Notes

Olive Oil ice cream base from "Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home", less the salted pepitas, plus saffron threads. Swirled with Burnt Orange-Caramel Sauce. —Stefani McGuiness

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Stefani McGuiness is a new Food52 user -- this is her first recipe!
WHAT: An ice cream that literally has layers of flavor -- the addictive orange caramel and savory-sweet olive oil and saffron ice cream are alternated in their container before freezing.
HOW: Jeni's classic base is augmented with a pinch of saffron and a swirl of olive oil, and the caramel is a matter of a few minutes' simmering on the stovetop.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Orange, olive oil, and saffron may bring to mind a paella more than dessert, but they pack quite a punch together in this ice cream. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the olive oil-saffron ice cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crush saffron threads
  • Burnt Orange-Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup strained, fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup cream
  1. For the olive oil-saffron ice cream
  2. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a bowl. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  3. Mix the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch-milk mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil with a heatproof spatula, thicken slightly, about a minute. Remove from the heat.
  4. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the olive oil until well blended. Crush the saffron threads between your fingers into the mixture and stir to distribute the threads. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge sealed bag into the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
  5. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating layers with the Burnt Orange-Caramel Sauce. Work quickly, or the caramel sauce will start to sink. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of the freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
  1. Burnt Orange-Caramel Sauce
  2. Combine the strained, fresh squeezed orange juice, the sugar, and salt to a sauce pan over medium-high heat. I used about 1 and a half oranges. Boil the mixture until the sugar and orange juice thicken and turn honey-colored, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Still on the burner, add the cream and stir to combine, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mlouise
  • Natasha Crowe
    Natasha Crowe
  • Hark
  • Mae
  • bunten

45 Reviews

Sena July 27, 2014
This recipe was my very first attempt at veganizing a recipe! I've made enough vegan ice creams following a vegan recipe by now that I thought I could do it on my own. Well, I'm so excited that it came out delicious and was not hard to do! I used full fat coconut milk in place of the whole milk, a combination of that coconut milk and coconut creamer for the heavy cream, and the coconut creamer for the cream in the caramel sauce. I also used vegan sugar. Thank you for this delicious recipe and for inspiring me to veganize it.
Mlouise July 16, 2014
Usually, caramel does not darken when the heat is not high enough
John M. January 20, 2018
If I already added the cream and took it off to heat to cool it, how can I darken it?
(the sauce)
Natasha C. July 16, 2014
Made this for a dinner party last weekend and while the overall flavor was great, agree that the saffron needs to be put in earlier and no amount of boiling down would get the caramel sauce as dark as the picture or as I wanted. once frozen the runny sauce is less of an issue but still - a little disappointing.
Mlouise July 2, 2014
You are right about measurements and adding the saffron to hot milk. As I mentioned earlier in comments, I take about a1/4 cup of the milk, heat it and let the saffron steep for a good long while. If there is a little caramel sauce left, drizzle it on store bought coffee ice cream! If you are old enough to remember Country Club icecream, you will really like this.
Francesca D. July 2, 2014

Francesca D. July 1, 2014
A couple of questions - why use these measurements? I assume that .25 cup is 1/4 cup, etc, but what's with that? 1.5 cups olive oil is 1 1/2, etc. Also, wouldn't you add the saffron to the hot milk mixture and not as you are about to chill the custard?
dcremerssf February 12, 2014
This recipe write clearly has a lot of attitude or simply doesn't know how to communicate (quantity of ingredients)
Hark January 5, 2014
I wish I had rad the comments before making this, because I definitely would have halved the caramel sauce. I also had some trouble getting my cream cheese to blend smoothly, but that may be because I used cheap generic cream cheese. Nonetheless, this was delicious. Light flavor, not too sweet, beautiful colors. I just saved the leftover sauce for poached pears later in the week. Yum!
Mlouise January 1, 2014
Made this today...first, I took a half cup of the milk and infused the saffron, a very generous amount...secondly I had saffron salt in the pantry so I used that to further intensify the flavor.
There seemed to be more of the burnt orange sauce than was needed for the amount of ice cream. Maybe next time, I will let the ice cream freeze for a little before adding the sauce or wait and assemble it as an old fashioned parfait. At any rate, the flavor was AWESOME!
Mae November 17, 2013
This recipe looks and sounds very good, but I feel like missed something...step 4 - "Pour the ice cream into the frozen canister..." What canister? Do I need to buy something special for this?
baschwar November 17, 2013
Canisters of your ice cream maker.
bunten November 17, 2013
vassoula P. November 17, 2013
You mean 25 cups olive oil, 25 teaspoons salt or I misundestood something?
Stellamom November 17, 2013
It's .25 cup olive oil (1/4 cup) etc. Hard to see the decimal points in the recipe and somewhat unconventional way of writing measurements!
vassoula P. November 17, 2013
Stellamom November 17, 2013
yes, please clarify the cornstarch amount
bunten November 17, 2013
I just checked the original recipe in a bookstore. The proper cornstarch measurement is 1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon, or 4 teaspoons in total.

1.5 oz. cream cheese is 3 tablespoons.

The original recipe omits the saffron and adds 1 cup salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Stellamom November 17, 2013
Thank you! I've made a lot of ice cream base over the years but have never used cornstarch but rather egg yolks to thicken and enrich. I'm interested to see how the cornstarch works.
bunten November 17, 2013
How much cornstarch does this recipe really call for? 1 T? 1 t? 1 T+1 t?
Ron August 30, 2013
Can't wait to make this. Does anyone know where I can get the beautiful custard cup in the picture?? I have looked everywhere I can think of. Thanks.
mudpuppy June 27, 2013
Stefani McGuiness
For the caramel, I know only use a squirt of of orange juice to get the caramel going. Once the caramel is dark to your liking, zest the entire orange into the caramel. I also doubled the amount of saffron in the ice cream for a stronger flavor.
Diana B. July 21, 2013
The recipe still says to use a half-cup of orange juice in the sauce, which I guess I think is more than just a squirt, and I don't see anything about zest, so do your changes actually show in the recipe above? If not, I would want to make changes to the recipe as I've printed it out. Thanks!
Hark January 5, 2014
I felt like the orange flavor wasn't very strong, so I think zesting the orange would be a great addition to this recipe.
John M. January 20, 2018
Larry A. June 25, 2013
How would this recipe change if you had an ice cream maker? Or would this be blasphemy? Would I be able to just use the hot mixture and let the ice cream maker do all the work from there?

Looking forward to making this.

Stefani M. May 28, 2013
Thank you, everyone for all of your encouraging notes. I have made a few updates to the recipe since adding it to the site. For the caramel, I know only use a squirt of of orange juice to get the caramel going. Once the caramel is dark to your liking, zest the entire orange into the caramel. I also doubled the amount of saffron in the ice cream for a stronger flavor.
neighome April 21, 2013
A lovely combination of my favorite flavors. Thanks for the brilliant recipe! (Based on some of the comments, I started with just 1/2 tsp saffron, but found a full tsp works better for me).
baschwar January 4, 2013
My caramel came out very runny, not like a true caramel... any ideas why? It let the sugar/juice boil for about 8 minutes...
Marcela B. July 11, 2013
Let the mixture reaches 103 degrees Celsius and it will be ready and not to runny...
shiftins October 15, 2012
Wow this looks amazing!
IndianaJoan October 6, 2012
Hi! I used about 7/8 of a teaspoon. I agree that if I made it again I would probably use about 1/8 of a teaspoon and a teaspoon of lemon zest. Thanks for your response five and spice.