Hudson Valley Foie Gras PB&J Ice Cream

My husband loves foie gras. And I mean really loves it. So much so that he insisted we serve it to our guests at our wedding. Me? Not so much. Foie gras is rich, fatty and melts in your mouth. It’s a unique flavor that people tend to love or hate.

If you’re a fan of foie, do I have an ice cream recipe for you! On a recent cold Sunday, K and I found ourselves with no plans. I haven’t made homemade ice cream in a while, so I started getting ready to go grocery shopping to pick up some supplies. But what flavor should I make? K was feeling creative. “How about foie gras ice cream?” he asked. We had tried foie gras ice cream in Hong Kong once, and K wanted me to try it at home. Not one to back down from a cooking challenge, I hit up Google for some inspiration.

K always keeps a big supply of foie gras in our freezer, which he buys directly from Hudson Valley Foie Gras. When you see foie gras on the menu at any of the top restaurants in the U.S., there is a good chance it comes from Hudson Valley. Foie gras itself can be controversial, but Hudson Valley is committed to careful and transparent processes. You can even schedule a visit to their farm in Upstate New York — and take photos!

Foie gras is often served with fruit, or fruit preserves, so that got me thinking about peanut butter and jelly. There are many great recipes for peanut butter ice cream out there, so I used some for inspiration and took plenty of creative license!

This recipe is egg-less, but it still isn’t the easiest of recipes. First, you heat the milk and cream with the sugar until it’s dissolved. You cook the foie gras, then use a blender to blend it completely with the ice cream base.

Once the ice cream is ready, you layer it with swirls of jam. I would recommend high-quality jam here. Homemade would be ideal! While I love dear old Smuckers, I just don’t think gelatinous jelly would do well here.

Foie Gras PB & J Ice Cream
{Makes 1 pint}

Ingredients

  • One slice of frozen Hudson Valley foie gras (2 oz.)
  • 1.5 cups light cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butte
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup runny jam (if it’s too thick to pour, heat with tablespoon or two of water and a pinch of sugar)

Directions

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat and mix in the peanut butter,  vanilla, and salt. Chill the mixture in the fridge for 1 hour or until cool.
  • Meanwhile, cook the foie gras. You could grill it, but I had K sear it on the stove and finish in the oven.
  • Pour the ice cream mixture and foie gras into a blender and blend until completely smooth and frothy. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze per the manufacturer’s directions. If you’re using a Cuisinart, this means 1) turn on your machine, 2) slowly pour mixture in, and 3) leave the thing alone for 15 minutes or so.
  • In an airtight container, layer the ice cream with thin layers or drizzles of jam. When you’re done, you can take a wooden skewer or think knife and make a couple swirls. You can find more tips about making swirls (plus photos!) in this article. Freeze for at least an hour before serving.

The verdict? This was some rich, fancy ice cream! While the foie gras flavor wasn’t as prominent as I’d expected, it did seem to deepen the taste of the peanut butter. We could taste the foie gras when we thought about it, but we’re not convinced that we could have named the flavor if we didn’t know what it was. The ice cream base wasn’t very sweet, but the jam swirl brought a sugary punch. I’m glad that I sprung for the fancier, expensive mixed berry jam, as it brought another level of sophistication to the dish. Look at that red color! Overall, this ice cream was smooth, thick, and complex. If you have a foie-gras fan in the family, you should make this ice cream for a special occasion!

Hong Kong’s Ice Cream Gallery — Foie Gras and Lobster, Oh My!

After a relaxing and luxurious few days in the Maldives, it felt strange to be in the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong. (I should mention that we visited before the major protests, which I’m watching on TV right now!)

Hong Kong is one of K’s favorite cities, but this was my first time visiting. And even after just 36-hours there, I can totally understand his infatuation. There is a magical quality to the city; it’s a densely populated with both people and skyscrapers, but the hilly and lush terrain gives it a Jurassic Park-like feel. And Hong Kong was an important British colony until 1997, when it was formally handed over to the People’s Republic of China. So it retains some of its British/western identity and has a huge expat community. So we were able to find a craft-beer bar for K and a gluten-free grocery store for me!

Hong Kong is well-known for its vibrant food scene. The number of Michelin-starred restaurants is growing, and world-renowned celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver have recently opened restaurants. K and I had one of the best meals of our honeymoon here, at Ho Lee Fook, where everything is spicy and addicting (I’m looking at you, shredded chicken salad with the mysterious “strange sauce”).

But the most memorable culinary experience I had in Hong Kong took place in the late afternoon, when I was on the hunt for some local ice cream. And while I’ve had tried some very interesting flavors (remember cheese gelato and yak soft serve?), nothing prepared me for our visit to the Ice Cream Gallery.

Tucked inside a shopping mall, the Ice Cream Gallery has dished up over 600 different ice-cream flavors since 1994. Owner Arron Liu is known for churning out some of the finest (and most expensive!) gourmet ice cream in Asia.

What the Ice Cream Gallery lacks in colors, it makes up for in creativity and. Much of the ice cream is created in the style of French crème glacée, made from full-fat imported French cream and eggs. Some of these flavors sound more like fine cuisine than ice cream! French White Truffle, French Lobster, King Crab (!), French Foie Gras… I could barely believe my eyes. And even the traditional, classic flavors receive the special treatment; Pure Vanilla features Madagascar vanilla bourbon and Philippine mangoes are brought in for the Mango ice cream. According to their website, the Ice Cream Gallery doesn’t use any artificial flavors or colors, stabilizers, gelatin, or preservatives. The lack of food coloring explained why the colors behind the glass ice-cream case were fairly muted.

The most interesting savory-sounding ice creams caught K’s attention, and neither of us could settle on just one flavor. But we finally settled on four flavors (hey, it was our honeymoon!), and we ordered small cups of the following flavors:

French Foie Gras – made with fresh Roujie foie gras
French Lobster – made with fresh lobster
French Rose Champagne Chocolate – made with organic French roses, champagne and French 80% dark chocolate
Japanese Sesame 

The insane creations at the Ice Cream Gallery don’t come cheap. We had to fork over the equivalent of $35 USD for our tasting smorgasbord.

L to R: Foie Gras, Rose Champagne Chocolate, Lobster, Sesame

The verdict? I don’t think my taste buds have ever been so disoriented! I tried the Sesame first and was thoroughly impressed. Sweet, toasty, and just slightly gritty, this ice cream was delightful. It wasn’t the creamiest ice cream, but I enjoyed the airier texture. Next up was the Rose Champagne Chocolate. This flavor was sweeter than the sesame, but it retained a deep chocolatey flavor. The champagne flavor hit later, as the ice cream melted on my tongue. I couldn’t detect rose at all and wondered if I’d misinterpreted the name. Was it rosé champagne? Nope… I confirmed that rose was indeed a separate ingredient before I left. And now was the time for the savory flavors. The Lobster ice cream immediately reminded me of a rich lobster bisque…. but frozen and a tad bit sweeter? I’m not sure if the sweetness was just left over on my palate, or if there was actually a bit of sugar involved. The Foie Gras definitely tasted sweet, but it lacked the distinct fatty and salty flavor of foie gras. K said that if it was a blind taste test, he wouldn’t have known it was foie gras (and the boy loves his duck liver). Neither of us wanted to finish the two savory ice creams, but we were both glad we’d tried them. The Sesame, on the other hand, I couldn’t let go to waste. All in all, I’d really only recommend the Ice Cream Gallery to adventurous eaters. If you’re a vanilla-or-chocolate kind of ice-cream eater, you may prefer to try Hong Kong’s other shops. But if your taste buds are up to a challenge, walk run on over to the Ice Cream Gallery for an unforgettable experience.

The Stats:
Ice Cream Gallery
Windsor House/ICG Shop (Ground Floor – G16)
311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
http://www.icecreamgallery.com.hk