Even though it seems like a new gelato or ice-cream shop opens every week, they tend to stick to tried-and-true flavours in favour of more experimental ones. Enter Matt Kantor, chef of the Secret Pickle Supper Club, who dropped by The Grid’s office with some leftover onion ice cream he made for a previous dinner. The ice cream’s taste and smell exuded an undoubtedly rich and sweet onion flavour that fascinated our staff (much like when the CNE unveils its annual snacks). We asked Kantor to share the recipe.
3 vidalia onions (about 2.5 lbs)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of half and half (for the onion base)
2 cups half and half (for the ice cream)
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE ONION BASE
Remove the skin and top and bottom from the onions. Slice the onion very thin using a mandoline, if possible.
In a large heavy bottom pan, melt the butter on high heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook stirring until the onions deflate down to about 1/4 their original size. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for about four hours, until the onions are medium-brown. You will need to stir more often as the onions darken. If they are sticking too much, get a new pot and add some butter and continue cooking. Let the onions cool.
Add the half and half to the onion mixture and puree in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
FOR THE ICE CREAM
Prepare an empty large bowl (large enough to hold the cream and eggs) and set aside. Bring the half and half and vanilla to a boil. Remove from the heat. Combine the eggs and sugar and whisk until pale. Slowly add the cream mixture to the eggs, stirring to incorporate. Add the entire thing back into the pot. On medium heat, warm the mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spoon until you feel the mixture just start to thicken. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into the bowl you reserved. Let it cool. Add the onion mixture, stir to combine and strain once again through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, put the mixture in an ice cream-making machine and freeze.
Serve with pork, blueberries or peaches.