Cantaloupe-Thyme Ice Cream

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Remember when Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg got together to bake up a batch of brownies?  If you’re like me, you may have let out a teeny squeal of utter delight.

So good.  So right.  So weird.

Individually, neither excites me nearly as much; been there, done that.  On the other hand, take two things that aren’t traditionally considered natural partners, toss them into unfamiliar territory, and what do you have?  You have something special.

In short, this is exactly what I love about cooking.  The possibilities?  Literally endless.

This is a dramatic interpretation of what we’re doing.  Which one of these is a convicted felon?

A recipe like this is one of those things you may want to pull out of your sleeve when you’re looking to elicit those prized “I know these flavors, but can’t quite put my finger on what this is” reactions.  I kind of live for those, actually.

I used corn starch to thicken this ice cream, as both cantaloupe and thyme are fairly delicate in flavor, and starch interferes very little when it comes to taste.  The texture may be a little different from what you’re used to, but in fact, starch has been used as a thickener in ice cream and gelato for a long, long time.

And there you have it!  Unusual, simple, light, fresh, fruity and herbal, all at once.

P.S. Why do melons have big weddings?

Because they cantaloupe.  (You’re welcome/I’m sorry!)

Cantaloupe Thyme Ice Cream
(based on recipe from New York Times)

2 cups cantaloupe, cubed (about 1/2 a melon)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a blender or food processor, combine cantaloupe and thyme and blend until smooth.

Heat 1 cup of the milk and the cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming.  In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of milk with cornstarch and whisk well to make a smooth slurry.  Add this mixture to the pot, followed by the pureed cantaloupe mixture.  Continue cooking until it starts to thicken and simmers, 5-10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

Strain mixture through a sieve (you can do this now or when it’s cooled).  Chill thoroughly, for at least a few hours.   Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Makes a generous pint (double to serve 4-6 people).

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7 Responses to Cantaloupe-Thyme Ice Cream

  1. I thought it was delicious, different in a great way! And the texture seemed extra creamy and outstanding!

  2. Wow. . . I actually really love cantaloupe – it’s one of my favorite fruits, and I never would have thought to pair it with thyme. I think I must try this soon!

  3. I attempted to make this. I had all the ingredients besides the whole milk, where I used a skimmer milk. Otherwise, I followed the directions entirely. It has been in the fridge for about 2 hours now (I haven’t strained it yet) and it has completely curdled.. Help? Please?

    • Yikes, sorry to hear that! Sadly, the lower the fat content, the more likely things are to curdle. I have salvaged curdled custard before by just blending it in a blender–it might be worth a shot.

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