Pressure-Cooked Onion Ice Cream

It may sound strange, but it's tasty.

ICE's Director of Culinary Affairs, Chef Herve Malivert, demonstrated how to make this innovative ice cream dish at an event dedicated to modernist techniques.

It may sound weird, but this onion ice cream recipe is almost like a creamy, cold version of French onion soup — minus the cheese — in the best way possible. It has the texture and consistency of rich vanilla ice cream but packs a savory, satisfying flavor. 

Chef Herve takes common kitchen equipment, a pressure cooker and immersion circulator, to make his creative take on ice cream. 

Study modern techniques with Chef Herve at The Institute of Culinary Education.


Pressure-Cooked Onion Ice Cream


For the crème anglaise base:

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 500 milliliters whole milk
  • 500 milliliters heavy cream
  • 170 grams sugar
  • A pinch of salt (2-3 grams)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

For onion puree:

  • 1 kilogram sliced Spanish onion
  • 250 milliliters whole milk
  • 170 grams brown sugar
  • 3 grams salt
  • 150 grams dry milk powder


For crème anglaise base:

  1. Make sure all ingredients are cold to facilitate vacuuming.
  2. Set up a covered immersion circulator bath (approx. 10-12 liters) at 85°C.
  3. Combine egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar and salt.
  4. Blend on high speed for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Divide the mix into two large vacuum bags. Be careful to keep the sides of the bag clean.
  6. Add one half of the vanilla bean to each bag.
  7. Vacuum seal the bags as much as possible without the crème anglaise mix boiling out of the bag.
  8. Drop the bags into the 85°C water bath and reduce the temperature to 82°C.
  9. Once the bath stabilizes at 81-82°C, cook the crème anglaise for 15 to 20 minutes. The crème anglaise will thicken as it cooks. Avoid cooking longer than 25 minutes.
  10. Remove bags from the water bath and gently slap bags around on the counter top (if you omit this step the cream anglaise will look lumpy).
  11. Place bags in a cold water or ice bath to chill.

For onion puree:

  1. Add milk, sugar and salt to sliced onion.
  2. Pressure cook at 15 psi for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture and save liquid.
  4. Blend solids together and add liquid until the texture and taste is correct.
  5. While hot, weigh the onion puree. To every kilo of puree, add 75 grams dry milk powder.
  6. Blend to dissolve and let cool.
  7. Add to anglaise base to taste. Consider aiming for a 2:1 base-to-ice cream ratio. 

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