You Can Make Ice Cream From Tomatoes—and You Should, Because It’s Delicious
Here's how to transform your abundance of plump summer tomatoes into a sweet, frozen treat.
If you’re a huge tomato enthusiast, summer is basically heaven, with seemingly endless amounts of fresh, flavorful tomatoes ripe for the picking—literally. But after you’ve gotten your fix of platters of Caprese and veggie-packed Tomato Salads, it might be time to switch things up and try something on the sweeter side.
Though tomato ice cream might sound a little odd, once the seasonal produce joins forces with cream and sugar, it becomes the ultimate summer treat to conclude any farmer’s market meal. After all, the tomato is technically a fruit, so why not give it the same treatment as its more naturally sweet cousins?
In order to turn your tomato haul into a cold confection, you’ll start by prepping your tomatoes in order to reduce them to a fine pulp. Add the tomatoes to a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes until the skin loosens. Peel the skin and discard the seeds using a strainer, saving only the pulp to be combined with the other ingredients.
Add the tomato pulp to a medium saucepan with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 1 1/2 cups of milk per 3-4 medium tomatoes, and allow the mixture to simmer. In a separate bowl, combine 4 egg yolks with ½ cup sugar, or 6 tablespoons of honey if you’d prefer a natural sweetener.
Reduce the heat to low and lowly whisk in the sweetened yolk mixture into the simmering tomato liquid, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover, cooling for between 2-12 hours before freezing. For the best result, use an electric ice cream maker to complete your frozen dairy treat, per the machine’s instructions. If you don’t have access to an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a hard container—like a deep pan—cover and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
For a more savory take on tomato ice cream, cook down 3-4 tomatoes in a pan with a bay leaf, crushed garlic clove, and pinch of basil and thyme until soft, and use a sieve to strain the mixture before cooling. Combine the tomato pulp with 1 cup of mayonnaise, the juice of one lemon, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste, and pour into a container to freeze for at least 6 hours. Top the finished product with some more basil, or even a drizzle of olive oil, before serving the cool, savory dish.
Though your dinner guests might initially raise an eyebrow at the idea of tomatoes infiltrating the ice cream world, by the end of the meal they’ll be begging for the recipe. For more ways to make the most of tomato season, check out these recipes for Tomato Pie, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Roasted Tilapia with Tomatoes and Olives.