Discover a fusion like no other with our homemade cheese and pickle ice cream. Are you curious enough to brave this uniquely unconventional flavour fusion?
Cheese and Pickle, in an ice cream? Surely this is just pushing our flavour fusions too far?
Admittedly, this is not likely to be one for the masses, the combination of flavours is quite distinct and requires an acquired taste.
But think about it, the creamy texture of cheese, and the sweetness of sweet pickle, it’s actually not that far-fetched of an idea. It’s an obscure flavour fusion, that’s for sure, but for the sweet pickle lovers out there, you’ll love it.
I’m a sweet pickle lover! in fact, my mum calls me Pickle, it’s her pet name for me, and as far back as I can remember that’s what she would call me. Of course, during my teenage years, there were a few other names she’d call me, but the less said about those other names the better I think!
I would often, still do, slather dollops of Branston pickle on a slice of bread and devour. Nothing else is required, although, add a slice of cheese and I’m in cheese n pickle sarnie heaven!
Seeing that I love the cheese n pickle flavour profile as much as I do, the transition of using these flavours in an ice cream was an easy one and I’m very happy with the end result!
In this article, we’ll discuss this much-loved flavour combination, the history of cheese through the ages, the use of a variety of different cheeses and of course, we’ll show you how you can also make your own homemade cheese and pickle ice cream.
If you’d prefer, you can scroll down to the bottom of this article and go straight to the recipe, or read along and find out more about this classic flavour combination and our curious fusion in a unique and quite unconventional homemade ice cream.
Cheese and Pickle.
When we think of cheese and pickles, our minds drift to farmhouse salads, classic cheese and pickle sandwiches, and the ever-popular Branston sweet pickle, a brand well-known in the UK. I have American friends that I have introduced to Branston Pickle and they’ve loved it. It’s not a brand that is readily available in the States.
The combination of cheese and pickle has been cherished for its blend of flavours, offering a balance of savoury, tangy, and slightly sweet notes. It’s due to this well-balanced flavour combination that homemade cheese and pickle ice cream seemed like a likely combination.
Homemade cheese and pickle ice cream, a fusion that is both daring and surprisingly delicious. Explore with us a truly unique and unconventional delight that pushes the boundaries of traditional flavour pairings.
Cheese, Glorious Cheese.
Cheese through the Ages
Cheese has a long and rich history, dating back thousands of years. Here are some notable early uses of cheese and the approximate eras in which they originated:
- Ancient Mesopotamia (around 6000-7000 BCE): The earliest evidence of cheese production comes from the region that is now modern-day Iraq. Archaeological findings suggest that cheese was made by these early agricultural societies.
- Ancient Egypt (around 2000 BCE): Cheese was a common food in ancient Egyptian cuisine. The famous Egyptian pyramid workers are believed to have been given cheese as a part of their rations.
- Ancient Greece (around 8th century BCE): Cheese was an integral part of Greek cuisine. Feta cheese, in particular, was popular in ancient Greece and is still widely consumed today.
- Ancient Rome (around 3rd century BCE): The Romans were fond of cheese, and they made various types, including soft cheese like ricotta and hard cheese like pecorino. Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian, wrote about different cheese varieties in his work “Naturalis Historia.”
- Middle Ages (5th to 15th century): Cheese production and consumption continued throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. Monasteries played a significant role in developing cheese-making techniques, and various regional cheese varieties emerged.
- 17th Century: Cheese was brought to the American colonies by European settlers. Cheddar, for example, became a prominent cheese in the United States.
- 19th Century: With the growth of dairy farming in the United States and Europe, cheese production expanded and became more commercialised.
Since then, cheese has evolved into countless varieties and flavours, becoming a staple in diets worldwide. Its production methods have also become more refined and diverse, contributing to the wide range of cheeses available today.
Cheese, a Natural Creaminess
Cheese, with its diverse array of textures and flavours, is a culinary ingredient that has been used for centuries. What makes it truly extraordinary is its natural creaminess, which can range from silky and smooth to crumbly and firm.
This innate richness serves as an ideal canvas for flavour experimentation and makes cheese a perfect candidate for uniquely, unconventional ice cream creations. Cheese’s adaptability in both strong and subtle flavour profiles ensures that it can seamlessly integrate into a variety of recipes, offering a rich, savoury, and often slightly tangy dimension to your palate.
Strong and Subtle Flavour Profiles
The world of cheese boasts an extensive range of strong and subtle flavour profiles. From the bold and sharp cheddar to the mellow creaminess of brie, cheese varieties cater to a wide spectrum of taste preferences. Roquefort, made and stored in caves in the South of France, brings a robust tanginess, while Gouda offers a mild, nutty character.
The Essence of Sweet Pickle.
Sweet Pickle: A Flavourful Counterpart
On the other side of this unique fusion stands the sweet pickle, an equally unconventional ingredient for an ice cream.
Sweet pickle, often associated with condiments like Branston sweet pickle, introduces a complex layer of sweet and tangy notes. Its ability to harmonise with a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to ploughman’s platters, demonstrates its versatile appeal. This condiment’s capacity to balance savoury and sweet characteristics makes it an intriguing partner for cheese, opening up possibilities for inventive culinary dishes.
Vegetables typically used to make sweet pickle
Carrots and cauliflower are commonly used in sweet pickle recipes, especially for mixed pickles or relishes. They add a variety of flavours, colours, and textures to the pickles, making them more diverse and visually appealing.
Depending on the recipe and regional variations, you may find a combination of cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, onions, and other vegetables in sweet pickle mixes, along with spices, sugar (making it sweet), vinegar and salt. These additional vegetables contribute to the complexity of flavours and the overall experience of enjoying sweet pickle.
These ingredients are combined and prepared through a pickling process, which involves boiling or soaking the ingredients in the vinegar-sugar mixture with spices. The result is a sweet, tangy, and flavourful condiment that complements a wide range of dishes, from sandwiches to salads and cheese platters and now our homemade ice cream!
Strong and Subtle Flavours in Sweet Pickle
Sweet pickle, much like cheese, offers a range of flavour profiles. While some varieties are assertively sweet and tangy, others lean towards subtlety, allowing the natural flavours of the vegetables to shine through.
The varieties available open up exciting possibilities for crafting an ice cream flavour that captures the essence of sweet pickle while providing an unexpectedly sweet contrast to the creamy richness of cheese-infused ice cream.
Now that we have learned about Cheese and Sweet Pickle, let’s find out how to make a deliciously, unique and somewhat unconventional homemade cheese and pickle ice cream.
Homemade Cheese and Pickle Ice Cream.
Here’s our recipe and method for you to follow.
- 350ml whole milk
- 350ml double cream
- 170g granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 113g cream cheese, softened
- 115g grated cheddar cheese
- 120g sweet pickle relish (adjust to taste)
- 5ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk and double cream. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it starts to steam, but don’t let it boil. Remove from heat.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until the mixture becomes pale and slightly thick.
- Gradually add a small amount of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously. This tempers the eggs, preventing them from curdling. Continue adding the warm milk mixture gradually while whisking.
- Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and return it to the hob. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the softened cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese until they melt and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the sweet pickle relish, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Adjust the amount of pickle relish to your taste preference; you can add more for a stronger pickle flavour or less for a milder taste.
- Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until it’s completely chilled.
- Once the mixture is cold, churn it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it reaches a soft-serve consistency.
- NB: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still make this recipe. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze. Every 30 minutes, stir the mixture vigorously with a fork to break up any ice crystals that are forming, repeating this process for about 3-4 hours or until the ice cream is firm. Please also check out our post – Homemade Ice Cream: Without an Ice Cream Maker – to learn more.
- Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze it for several hours or until it’s firm.
- Serve the cheese and pickle ice cream in bowls or cones and enjoy this unique and flavourful dessert.
Feel free to adjust the sweetness, pickle intensity, or cheese flavour to suit your taste. Enjoy your homemade cheese and pickle ice cream!
Although an ice cream, and therefore there’s an expectation for it to be sweet, our homemade ice cream recipe allows you to adapt to your own taste preferences.
If you prefer a more savoury option you can reduce the sugar quantity to provide a more subtle sweet flavour, bearing in mind the sweet pickle offers a level of sweetness too. We like to add a spoon of pickle at the point of serving, to truly enhance the sweet pickle flavour.
Alternative Cheese Options.
If you’d like to try different cheese varieties, perhaps something with a little more cheesy flavour, you can try out either of the following cheeses:
- Stilton Cheese:
- Flavour Profile: Stilton is a bold and robust blue cheese with a crumbly texture. It has a strong, tangy, and somewhat salty flavour with earthy undertones.
- Use in Ice Cream: Stilton’s intense and savoury profile can add a unique and sharp contrast to the sweetness of the ice cream. The tanginess and saltiness of Stilton can complement the sweetness of the pickle, creating a balance of sweet and savoury in each bite.
- Gouda Cheese:
- Flavour Profile: Gouda is a semi-hard Dutch cheese with a creamy, mild, and slightly nutty taste. It comes in various aged varieties, with younger Gouda being milder and older Gouda having a more pronounced flavour.
- Use in Ice Cream: Young Gouda’s creaminess and mild, nutty notes can contribute to a smooth and delicate ice cream texture. Its sweetness pairs well with the sweet pickle, offering a balanced, subtle combination that’s more about creaminess than intense flavours.
- Pecorino Cheese:
- Flavour Profile: Pecorino is an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It has a firm texture and a salty, sharp, and tangy taste. There are different varieties of Pecorino, with Pecorino Romano being one of the most famous.
- Use in Ice Cream: Pecorino’s sharp and tangy profile can add a zesty kick to the ice cream. It brings a salty complexity to the sweetness of the pickle, creating a vibrant and bold combination. The intensity of Pecorino may appeal to those who enjoy a more pronounced savoury element in their ice cream.
Each of these cheese varieties can bring a distinct character to your homemade cheese and pickle ice cream. The choice of cheese depends on your personal taste and the balance you want to achieve between the creaminess, sweetness, and savoury elements in the final product.
We truly hope you have enjoyed our article on a unique and very unconventional homemade ice cream. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re partial to a cheese and pickle sarnie, as we are, then this might be one for you.
Please drop us a comment if you have any questions and of course, we’d love to hear from you if you’re brave enough to give this recipe a go!