Cantaloupe and Prosciutto Ice Cream Recipe

October 2, 2012 1:21 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Prosciutto and Melon Ice Cream
Perhaps my favorite vice of all time is ordering prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe as an appetizer at some of my favorite Italian restaurants. If you've ever been to a supermarket in on your whole life, you can always tell just how much this very simple combination of two ingredients has been marked up to make it restaurant ready. I always feel a little guilty paying fifteen dollars for a plate that only costs two or three to prepare and takes seconds to assemble, and I want to reclaim that guilt and repurpose it into something truly awesome. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Perhaps my favorite vice of all time is ordering prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe as an appetizer at some of my favorite Italian restaurants. If you've ever been to a supermarket in on your whole life, you can always tell just how much this very simple combination of two ingredients has been marked up to make it restaurant ready. I always feel a little guilty paying fifteen dollars for a plate that only costs two or three to prepare and takes seconds to assemble, and I want to reclaim that guilt and repurpose it into something truly awesome.

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And I think you'll agree: nothing's more awesome than ice cream.

So here it is, my recipe for a cantaloupe and prosciutto ice cream that's bound to make even the most discerning Italian grandmother nod with approval. I've been thinking of a meal that switches a traditional dessert product with a traditional appetizer, and this would definitely be on it.

Start with four ounces of prosciutto, as thinly sliced and fatty as absolutely possible. Chop it up and sauté it over medium heat until it's nice and golden brown and renders much of its fat. Set that stuff aside.

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In a blender, puree one cup of diced ripe cantaloupe (that's gonna be about half of the sweetest cantaloupe you can find, make sure to dice up the other half into bite-sized pieces for later) with one-half cup of whole milk. Once it's as smooth as possible, set the puree through a strainer. Set it aside.

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Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a slightly smaller (but still large) bowl in the center. You're going to use this ice bath to cool your custard once it's off the stove.

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In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the cantaloupe-milk mixture, another half-cup of whole milk, and two cups of heavy cream. You want it to reach a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or hot but not boiling. This will happen faster than you think, so work quickly with the next step.

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In a separate bowl, combine three egg yolks, a cup of sugar, one tablespoon of lime juice (for tartness, to bring out the sweetness of the cantaloupe), and a quarter teaspoon of salt. You could even eliminate the salt completely, simply because it's going to get a dose of crispy prosciutto and rendered fat in a hot second.

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Remove the cream and cantaloupe mixture from the heat, then whisk about half of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Transfer the new yolk mix back to the pan with the cream mix and cook over medium heat. A trick hear is to use a rubber spatula and keep scraping it against the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching. The temperature you're looking to achieve here is 175 degrees, or until a metal spoon inserted into the pan gets its back coated in the stuff. This will take about two to three minutes over medium heat.

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Remove the custard from the heat and pour it into the bowl floating in the ice bath. Let the custard cool completely, stirring occasionally. Add the crispy prosciutto and all the rendered fat. Stir it all well.

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Let the mix steep for between an hour to two days, stirring once each day.

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Just before mixing, add one cup of diced ripe cantaloupe. Holy God, right?

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Put it through your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. How cool are you?



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