Three years ago, while Alison and I were visiting my father in Sarasota, he brought us to Big Olaf Creamery. Although there are several locations, the place we visited was a small outpost along a road lined with Amish-owned (as Big Olaf’s is) food establishments. Apparently, Sarasota has a rather large Amish community, many of whom travel down to Sarasota for the winter. [Seriously, read this article on “Amish Las Vegas.” Apparently, what stays in Pinecraft–the Amish area of Sarasota–stays in Pinecraft.]
In any case, the ice cream at Big Olaf’s is divine. We loved it, and now (like a 5 year-old), I insist on going every time I visit.
This past winter when we visited, my interest was piqued by the Nutella Ice Cream at Big Olaf’s. It was hazelnut ice cream with swirls of nutella. I tried it, and I was hooked. I decided I would have to try making it.
And to make the hazelnut ice cream, I created a vanilla base, substituting roasted and chopped hazelnuts for vanilla beans in the steeping process, and almond extract for vanilla extract at the end.
This ice cream is very rich and very, very sweet. The trick (which I did not completely accomplish. I will clearly need to make it again) is to drizzle the nutella in a thin stream, so you don’t end up eating huge chunks of nutella. (I know, I know. That doesn’t sound bad. But nutella is a delicate temptress; it can tip into crazytown very quickly). At the right balance, though, this ice cream is dessert heaven.
Admittedly, it is tough to drizzle nutella. Use a couple of utensils to stretch the nutella as much as possible and lay it on top of the ice cream. Work in alternating batches of ice cream and swirls of nutella. The nutella will harden with freezing.
Nutella Hazelnut Ice Cream
Caramelized hazelnuts ingredients
1.5 cups hazelnuts whole hazelnuts
1/6 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Caramelized hazelnuts instructions
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
- Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking pan and bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. When the nuts are well-baked (skins should darken and loosen from the nuts–the best way to identify done-ness is the smell–a fragrant baked nut smell signals they are ready), remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In the meantime, prepare a second baking tray with parchment paper covering the surface
- Rub nuts between your hands to remove skin. You could also roll them in a wire sieve or between rough dishtowels. If the hazelnuts are browned enough, the skins should come off easily. I usually use slightly more than the desired amount, so that I can discard any nuts that don’t completely lose their skin.
- Set aside one cup hazelnuts for the ice cream (see below)
- Measure out 60g (a little under 1/2 cup) hazelnuts for the caramelized hazelnuts.
- In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and vanilla to boil. When the mixture reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit, add the hazelnuts. Take pan off the heat and stir until the sugar resembles sand, then return it to the heat.
- Stir constantly until the caramel turns a dark amber color. Pour the whole mixture onto the prepared baking tray so that the nuts lie evenly across the pan, and allow to cool
- After the nuts have cooled, chop to desired consistency (we chop these nuts pretty finely, but you could keep them in larger pieces).
Ice cream ingredients
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups hazelnuts
5 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp almond extract
Ice cream instructions
- Freeze your ice cream maker according to instructions–usually for at least 15 hours prior to making the ice cream, placed in the coldest part of the freezer.
- Chop 1 cup toasted hazelnuts (see above)
- Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of cream in a saucepan until steaming but not boiling.
- Turn off the heat, add chopped toasted hazelnuts, cover, and allow to steep for about 1 hour.
- When finished steeping, pour warmed mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Press nuts to sieve to extract all the juice, then discard nuts.
- Place 1 cup cream in a medium mixing bowl with a fine mesh sieve over the top of the bowl. The mixing bowl should be placed into a larger bowl half-filled with ice and water, to keep cool*
- Return milk and cream mixture to stove and re-warm.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Very slowly**, pour the warmed coffee mixture into the egg yolks.
- Return the warmed milk and yolk mixture into the same pan, and heat on the stove over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken***, but do not allow the mixture to boil.
- Pour ice cream mixture through strainer into the ice bath, add vanilla, and stir constantly until cooled
- Put mixture into a tuperware or other sealed container and put in refrigerator to chill thoroughly (about 8 hours or longer).
- Freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Mix in caramelized hazelnuts in the last minute of churning.
- In a long flat tuperware or other sealed container, layer ribbons of nutella and ice cream alternately. I suggest using the nutella somewhat sparingly, in thin pieces, as it can easily make the ice cream too sweet when congealed in larger pieces (you can always add more later if needed). Transfer ice cream to a long flat container and freeze until ready to eat.
*I add about three ice cube trays worth of ice into a very large metal bowl, and fill it up about half way with water to create an ice bath. Then I place a second, smaller metal bowl inside the first one.
**Be careful not to cook the yolks while you are pouring the warmed milk mixture into the eggs. The best way to do this is to pour in a very small, steady stream while stirring constantly.
***It is very important not to let the mixture boil here. Stir constantly, until you begin to feel the mixture thicken. Usually this is pretty clear, although once again the coffee beans can make it a little less clear. I only needed to stir this mixture for about five minutes.