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Greek Oregano Ice Cream Recipe

oregano ice cream
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This is my own invention, although it relies on a standard ice cream base. Do this ice cream recipe only in early spring, or in the late winters where it is warm, as it is here in Northern California. Only use the freshest oregano and the finest individual ingredients. Your guests will notice.

Makes about a quart

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • A scant 2 cups milk, either full-fat or 2 percent
  • A generous 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • A double handful of fresh oregano leaves, about 1/2 cup loosely placed in a measuring cup
  • Black honey, preferably Greek — any really dark honey will do
  • Sprigs of oregano from the very tips of the plants to garnish

Make the creme anglaise. In a nonreactive pot, heat the milk, cream and sugar just barely to the boil. Turn off the heat, stir in the oregano, cover and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. Do not steep the herbs for more than 6 hours.

Strain the oregano out of the cream mixture and return to the heat. Lightly beat the egg yolks, and when the cream mixture is just at a boil, turn the heat down.

Add a small ladleful of the hot cream to the egg yolks to temper them, stirring the yolks constantly. Do this until you have several ladlesful in the egg bowl. Now pour the contents of the egg bowl into the hot cream. Stir well, turn the heat up to medium, and when you see the faintest boil turn off the heat.

When the creme anglaise is cool, strain it again to get out any lumpy bits, then pour into your ice cream maker.

Garnish with a drizzle of the black honey and the very tip of an oregano sprig.

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