If you’re ever in the Fishers, Indiana area, a short drive northeast of Indianapolis, you really should visit the fine folks at Prairie Town — an 1836 frontier village located in the heart of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. When you do, you may be lucky enough to find sweet Mrs. Curtis making her favorite dessert for her employer, Dr. Campbell. This amazing recipe finds its roots in the late 1700’s. It’s called Parmesan Ice Cream — a very unusual savory ice cream that I think you’re going to love!
- 6 Eggs
- 3 oz. grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
- 1 cup of Simple Syrup
- 2 cups sugar cooked with 1 cup water and simmered until dissolved (If you are using a modern ice cream maker you can use the sugar straight)
- 2 cups Cream
The first thing you want to do is whisk your 6 eggs together. Then add in about 3 ounces of finely grated high-quality Parmesan Cheese.
You to avoid using any of the processed cheeses available in those green cans. For the best flavor, use the real stuff. Next, add in your syrup, or straight sugar if you are using a modern ice cream maker. If you are using straight sugar, don’t worry too much about it dissolving completely because it will dissolve as we heat it up in the next step.
To our mixture we’re going to add 2 cups of cream and stir well.
Pour the mixture into a pot and set over over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Every so often, pull the spoon out and drag your finger across the back.
Once your custard is ready it should leave an open spot on the spoon that doesn’t close up. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
Once your custard has cooled, pour it into your ice cream maker. If you are using a modern ice cream maker, follow the instructions provided with your machine. We are using an 18th-century style sabotiere. Make sure not to overfill your ice cream maker. This recipe came only 1/3 of the way up the side of our sabotiere.
Prepare your ice so that it covers above the fill line of the custard but not so high that it leaks into your ice cream. Layer in some coarse salt as you fill your bucket around the sabotiere with ice. This will drop the temperature of the ice to below freezing. Allow the sabotiere to sit for for about 7-8 minutes, before you churn your sabotiere back and forth in the ice for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, carefully wipe off the top and remove the lid. Scrape down all of the iced cream forming around the inside edges of the sabotiere. Close the sabotiere back up and repeat the cycle by letting it set for 7-8 minutes before churning for another 10 minutes.Once again, scrape the sides down the inside, and repeat the process again about three more times, or until the ice cream is at your desired consistency.
Keep in mind that the longer you let it set, the stiffer the ice cream will be, but it may also become difficult to remove from the ice cream maker.
When eating this ice cream, you’ll notice it tastes sweet at first, followed by the salty savory flavor of cheese a little later.
Transcript of Video:
We’re here today at Connor Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. It’s a premier Living Historic site, and we’ve got a wonderful recipe for you. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.
[Jon] I’m here today with Mrs. Curtis and she’s promised to show me this amazing recipe for parmesan ice cream. Now, when I first heard parmesan ice cream, number one, I love ice cream and I love parmesan, but I thought, now wait a minute…
[Mrs. Curtis] The two together (Laughing softly)
[Jon] Tell me about this parmesan ice cream.
[Mrs. Curtis] I think you’ll love it. It’s a savory ice cream.
[Mrs. Curtis] But it has a little bit of sweet and it’s very, very creamy and it’s so easy to go down your throat.
[Jon] I can’t wait to try it. Let’s get started.
[Mrs. Curtis] Alright. Well, to begin the receipt, we have to have 6 eggs.
[Mrs. Curtis] We’ve already tested the eggs so we know that they all sank to the bottom and they’re fresh, so if you’ll begin, let’s break each one. Once these eggs are all in, then we will whisk those. To that, we’re going to add 3 ounces of grated parmesan cheese.
[Jon] If you want the best flavor with this recipe, make sure you use actual real parmesan cheese. Parmesan Reggiano, not any of the processed parmesan cheese that comes in a green can. Don’t even try it with that. You really want the real stuff.
[Mrs. Curtis] Then we’re going to add 1 cup of syrup.
[Mrs. Curtis] The syrup is 2 cups of sugar cooked with 1 cup of water and simmered until it dissolves.
[Mrs. Curtis] To that we’re going to add 2 cups of cream. Stir that well.
[Mrs. Curtis] Now that it’s well mixed I have a pot for that to go into and we’ll put it over the fire.
[Jon] This is ready to go in.
[Mrs. Curtis] It’s just a simple custard.
[Jon] So we’re going to set this over the fire. What kind of temperature are we trying to get to here?
[Mrs. Curtis] I would say a low medium as we’re stirring with a spoon. Every so often we’re going to pull the spoon out, drag your finger across the back, so once it’s ready it should leave an open spot that doesn’t close up. We’ll take it off the fire and we’ll allow it to cool for about 30 minutes.
[Jon] So tell me a bit about this parmesan cheese. Where did it come from?
[Mrs. Curtis] Well, I was thankful that the Zimmerman’s were going down to Cincinnati. This parmesan cheese was shipped in from Europe and made it all the way down to Cincinnati and that Doctor Campbell had requested that I come to make some ice cream for guests, so parmesan being a hard cheese and being very salted, it is well preserved.
[Jon] Oh yeah, long lasting, travels well.
[Mrs. Curtis] Stores very, very well. Now that our cream has cooled down, we’re ready to put it into the sabotiere.
[Jon] Okay, this is our ice cream maker, a sabotiere, and we’re not filling this up.
[Mrs. Curtis] No
[Jon] We just want it only about a third full or a quarter full, but we can put the lid on it now.
[Mrs. Curtis] Put a little salt in on top of the ice.
[Jon] So we’ve already got ice in here?
[Mrs. Curtis] Just a small layer and the salt is going to make that really cold.
[Mrs. Curtis] And let’s slip that in on top.
[Jon] And now we put some ice around the outside.
[Mrs. Curtis] Right.
[Mrs. Curtis] Plus I mentioned Mrs. Zimmerman has asked me to come down to do this because the Doctor has family coming in and her brother up in Nokesville has an ice house and so he doesn’t have much left but he was willing to share in order for the Doctors Family to have this.
[Jon] Just for this recipe.
[Mrs. Curtis] Yes, but we promised we’d keep him some ice cream.
[Jon] I’ll bet. He better hurry while it’s still cold.
[Jon] So we’ve got the ice all the way up almost to this bottom rim here, now I start turning it right?
[Mrs. Curtis] No.
[Jon] No? We don’t.
[Mrs. Curtis] It has to set for about seven, eight minutes because during that time, it’s really getting the canister good and cold and then once that time has passed you will get ten minutes of churning.
[Jon] I’m rotating.
[Mrs. Curtis] We’re getting close.
[Mrs. Curtis] What we have to do next is, we’ll wipe off the top, we’ll take off the lid, we’ll do a scrape down because all of the iced cream is forming around the edges.
[Mrs. Curtis] Up close to the sabotiere so we’ll scrape that down so that the other cream can move in and it can continue to freeze.
[Mrs. Curtis] So now that we’ve scraped down the sides, you can see it’s starting to firm up.
[Jon] Oh yeah it looks good.
[Mrs. Curtis] So we’ll put the lid back on.
[Mrs. Curtis] Not going to work it again yet.
[Mrs. Curtis] You’re going to let it set just a few more minutes and then you have another ten minutes to churn it.
[Mrs. Curtis] Well, it should be just about finished. It’s been about 3 cycles, 10 minutes to churn 10 minutes in between, so usually about an hour is the amount of time it takes to finish this off.
[Jon] Well, let’s see what it looks like.
[Mrs. Curtis] So let’s see, ah, yes
[Jon] The consistency looks perfect. We could probably let this set and have it stiffen up even further, but then it would be hard to get out.
[Mrs. Curtis] Yes
[Jon] Well, I can’t wait to try this.
[Mrs. Curtis] Go ahead.
[Jon] Okay. It does look good. You get a little bit of the cheese whiff off of it.
[Mrs. Curtis] I never wait long enough to smell it.
[Jon] I can believe that. Whoa, that is really, really good. You don’t get any cheese texture out of it but you get that cheese flavor.
[Mrs. Curtis] Very savory.
[Jon] And it comes in a little later, that cheese. First it’s a little sweet like ice cream and then, mmm, it warms up.
[Mrs. Curtis] The salty taste to it.
[Jon] Oh yeah. Excellent, excellent ice cream. I don’t think anybody would believe parmesan ice cream, it’s amazing. You really have to try it. Well, I want to thank you Mrs. Curtis for sharing this recipe with us. It is amazing. It is wonderful.
[Mrs. Curtis] So glad you enjoyed it. I hope the Doctor’s family enjoys it too.
[Jon] I am sure they will.
[Mrs. Curtis] (Laughs softly) Good.
[Jon] If you get a chance to come here to Connor Prairie, if you’re in this area, you really should come here. This is an amazing site. You will love it, I promise you. Thank you so much for coming along with us as we discover these amazing flavors, as we savor these flavors and the aromas of the 18th and early 19th century.
I want to give a special thanks to all the folks at Connor Prairie and make sure to check out their website. If you’re new to our channel, I want to welcome you. You can subscribe by clicking the button right up here. Also, check out our related videos. Thanks so much for watching.
I think I did something wrong, but I don’t know what. I made the custard with 2c sugar, rather than simple syrup and put it in an electric ice cream maker. It was running for about four hours with no ice cream. Granted I wasn’t using rock salt,. but I was salting my ice. Any ideas?
The same thing happened to me (although, I did go ahead and make the syrup). I then made two adjustments: I poured the liquid ice cream back into a pitcher and chilled it overnight (while I re-chilled the bowl of my ice cream maker), then on the second attempt I made sure to only fill my ice machine a little over halfway. Success! It firmed up beautifully in just 20 minutes, and reached the consistency of store-bought ice cream after about two hours in the freezer. Also… 2 cups of sugar is too much. When you make the simple syrup, the 2 cups of sugar and one cup of water together make 2 cups of syrup. Since the recipe calls for one cup, you only want to use one cup of sugar when substituting.
Just made this tonight, and it’s delicious! Definitely a must-try for salty-sweet fans. My husband suggested it might be good with blueberries as well, so I might be picking up some in the near future as he’s got a knack for flavor combinations, haha