Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

When I was young, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with apricot baby food. Not baby young; we’re talking four-years-old young. My brother (E) was an actual baby at the time, and I would insist on also being served a bowl of baby food whenever he was fed. (I’m willing to admit there may have been other forces at work here besides a love of pureed foodstuff. It’s possible that I was a little bit envious of my new, doted-on, glassy-eyed sibling [who wasn’t even the right kind — I specifically told my mom that I wanted a sister]. And if I wasn’t going to get to play in the baby jumper suspended from the living room ceiling [which E clearly wasn’t capable of utilizing to its fullest potential], then I was at least going to demand that I be given the same treatment as him when it came to food.) So yeah, maybe there’s that. But I recall really enjoying the taste of apricot baby food, specifically. (No matter how fixated I was on making sure this of blob of a baby knew it wasn’t special, there was no way in hell I was eating pureed carrots.) The apricot stuff didn’t just taste of sweet regression, it was kind of downright yummy.

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

Now, if you think that’s strange, it gets weirder. Since my baby food obsession died out, I’m pretty sure I have not eaten an apricot. I think I may have tried a dried apricot once at my parents’ insistence, and I was not impressed. I blame the texture, which has kept me from enjoying a lot of pitted fruits until recently (when I realized they are good for plenty of other things besides straight eating). After making a really delicious roasted plum sorbet last year, I was ready to branch out a bit more into the world of stone fruits.

So when I spotted some apricots in the store a couple weeks ago, I thought back to my baby food obsession. I considered buying a few but then decided against it, since I had no idea what I’d actually want to do with them. But then Eva posted this gorgeous galette, noting that apricots have a rather short season (I had no idea), and it inspired me to think up something asap.



My thoughts immediately went to roasting and ice cream, and The Flavor Bible pointed me in the direction of adding almond in some form. I love a bit of crunchy texture in my ice cream, and an almond streusel seemed beyond perfect. And it would give me an excuse to bake up an entire pan of streusel, which is something I have to restrain myself from doing without a specific purpose. (I’ll try to tell myself that I’ll surely use it for something, but I know that something would just wind up being me eating fistfuls of it straight from a mason jar.)

roasting apricots

roasted apricots

As I researched recipes for apricot ice cream, one of the things that surprised me was the consistent absence of egg yolks. I finally happened upon this recipe (also the inspiration for the buttermilk addition), which mentioned that stone fruits contain lots of pectin. Therefore, ice creams made from them don’t require an additional thickening agent, like egg yolks. Pretty rad, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love me an eggy ice cream. But not needing to stand over a hot stove waiting for a custard to thicken? That wins, especially in the heat wave we’ve been enduring lately.

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream

Roasting the apricots with brown sugar gives them a deeper, richer flavor, which is brightened up by a couple healthy squeezes of lemon juice. The buttermilk really takes the tartness of this ice cream to the next level. You’re hit immediately by a sour flavor, which slowly mellows, and is then rounded out beautifully by the bits of buttery almond streusel. (You can totally see people experiencing these flavor transitions when they taste the ice cream for the first time. If I could hear the thought process, I think it would go something like, “Whoa, this is TANGY……[citrus and buttermilk mellowing, apricot coming through]……ok, this is actually pretty good……[streusel bits]……what was THAT…omg…more…MORE!!!”)

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

Just a few notes on flavor: If you aren’t totally into the idea of a somewhat sour ice cream, you might want to forgo the buttermilk and use all heavy cream instead. Also, I added a little bit of freshly ground black pepper to the streusel to give things an unusual bite, but it didn’t quite come through the way that I had wanted it to. I’ve amended the streusel recipe below with double the amount that I used, but feel free to leave it out entirely. Alternatively, I had considered adding some fresh bits of rosemary to the streusel, but completely forgot to pick some up from the store [and, sadly, am a total slacker who still has yet to plant her garden]. I think it could bring some really wonderful flavor to the ice cream, but whether or not you’d like to experiment with that is up to you. Regardless, I highly recommend that you grab some apricots and give this ice cream a try, before they’ve disappeared from the shelves.

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

(adapted from The Perfect Scoop and Endless Simmer)

makes: around 1 quart of ice cream

Note: When choosing apricots for this ice cream, the riper, the better. You want the ones that feel like you could put your finger right through them if you don’t handle them in the most delicate way.

1 1/2 lbs of mega-ripe apricots (15–20, depending on size)

brown sugar (for roasting)

3/4 cup of sugar

1 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup of buttermilk

2 drops of almond extract (careful not to overdo it — a little goes a long way)

juice of half a lemon

1 cup of almond streusel (recipe below)

Almond Streusel

Note: This recipe will make more than you need for the ice cream. Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week (or freeze on a baking sheet then store for longer in the freezer), and sprinkle on top of ice cream when serving. Never enough streusel!

1/2 cup of sliced almonds

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 stick of butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup of almond meal

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 tsp freshly ground coarse black pepper

Preheat oven to 350° and line a small baking sheet or pan with parchment paper.

Add slivered almonds and almond extract to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until a crumbly mixture comes together. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, you could finely chop almonds, then combine the remaining ingredients and cut in butter.) Spread evenly over baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until butter has melted and the mixture has begun to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool, then break into crumbly bits.

To roast the apricots:

Preheat oven to 425°. Halve and pit apricots. Arrange on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a healthy dose of brown sugar. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until super soft and nicely browned.

To make the ice cream:

Add still-warm apricots to the bowl of your food processor along with sugar and pureé until smooth. Push mixture through a sieve to remove and fibrous bits.

Add apricot pureé to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and almond extract, then mix in heavy cream and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until mixture is completely chilled.

Freeze in your ice cream maker as per the instructions. Mix in streusel once the freezing is complete.

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel


  1. says

    Your are a wizard, obviously. It’s the only explanation for how the ice cream flavour has never come into my life before. Because I don’t know any other wizards. And the photos are clearly also the work of a wizard.

  2. says

    What a great flavour combination. I love the idea of the sweetness of the roasted apricots with the tartness of the buttermilk. So good!

  3. says

    This recipe sounds like the beginnings of a really delicious pie. Roasted apricots (yum, especially because I find them kind of gross raw), buttermilk, and STREUSEL! Ahh! The idea of baking up a panful of straight-up streusel excites me, but I wouldn’t be able to resist it either. It would be dangerous. Also, I love how no egg yolks are involved with the making of this custard. While ice cream is the perfect cold treat, people don’t realize how sweaty and gross the process of making it can be. (Especially since our kitchen has no ventilation whatsoever!)

    Also, I love your story about the pureed baby food. When I was four years old, my sister was also a baby, and there are pictures of me crawling around in her crib with her, except I recall pushing her out of the way so that I would be the focus of the picture. Shameless! Haha.

    • says

      Hahahaha, there are a ton of pictures of me in my brother’s crib too! Man, younger siblings — they don’t even know the world of pain they’re in for. :D

      YES. I bet it would be totally awesome as pie! (I was actually thinking of it in pie bar form, reminiscent of your strawberry rhubarb ginger bars!) I am still amazed by the no egg yolks thing. All I had to do was turn on an oven (and walk away into another room), then stick a bunch of stuff in a food processor, then stir in some other things. DONE. So much better than making custard! (I always question whether or not I actually know what a coated spoon looks like anyway.)

      When I made the streusel, I actually made like 50% more than the recipe above makes (by accident — I swear I thought there wouldn’t be enough). I’ve been putting it in yogurt……so good.

      • says

        I love that idea! Bars are so perfect for this weather because of the portability factor. Must bring them to a picnic sometime this summer!! Plus, streusel makes everything a million times better. Must try having it on hand for breakfast one of these days. :)

  4. says

    Yesss! This looks amazing! When I was a kid–about 4 years old, actually–I was obsessed with dried apricots. I didn’t eat apricots again until a few years ago, and now I can’t get enough of them! I love how you can just rip them apart with your hands to remove the pit. I love how Ruth Reichl takes those ripped halves and bakes them into the easiest pie ever. And now I totally love this ice cream. I tried to shoot ice cream this weekend, and it was SUCH A FRIGGIN MESS. But then I got to eat it and all was well :)

    • says

      Yes! I was so in love with the super-ripe apricots, because I’d start cutting them with the knife and they’d literally just fall away from the pit. SO AWESOME. :D

      Oh man, ice cream photoshoots……ugh. I totally understand why people use mashed potatoes. :P I actually learned a lot from my last ice cream photoshoot, though. This time, I put the tray and the jars in the freezer before I styled everything, and it made a huge difference. I decided that I wanted a melty shot on the tray, and I actually had to wait around for like 5 minutes for the ice cream to melt. :P

  5. says

    this is right up dw’s alley, the full on dairy doom, the texture. we made strawberry coconut ice cream last night and while it was tasty it did lack that specialness only dairy milk can give. i love how the last two pix show the melty goodness that only a hot day can give such a treat. tell me you licked the scooper, plate and container! :)

    • says

      Yes! Dairy doom! It’s true, milk/cream really adds such an awesome quality to ice cream, and it’s so hard to replicate. I actually think the pectin did wonders for this ice cream, though. I’ve made egg- and dairy-based ice creams in the past, and they’ve gotten all icy after a day or two in the freezer. But this one stays super creamy. It’s so good.

      I ate so much melty ice cream during this photoshoot……omg. My hands were so sticky. It was awesome. :)

  6. says

    OMG, this sounds crazy good! And such gorgeous photos. Love the idea of streusel in ice cream, and the rosemary and/or black pepper sound like killer additions. That’s cool that it’s made with just almonds and almond meal, and no flour – nice! I’ve never had apricot ice cream, but I bet this is just amazing, what with the brown sugar roasted apricots and all. Mmm! Also I will eat anything made with buttermilk. (Baby food, on the other hand… not so much. ; ))

    Now if only I could explain my elementary school obsession with drinking out of baby bottles, with no younger siblings to blame my regressive behavior on…

    • says

      Haha! Aren’t children such funny little people? :)

      I can’t believe I’ve never done streusel in ice cream before — it’s soooo good. I’ve been obsessed with the Jeni’s Brown Butter Almond Brittle ice cream since I discovered it last year, and that kind of gave me the idea. (Although I think streusel is way better, especially since getting a giant, frozen chunk of brittle is a bit difficult to deal with.)

      The apricot flavor worked so well as an ice cream. When I was checking out the apricot section in the Flavor Bible, I immediately knew what I was doing when I saw “CREAM AND ICE CREAM”. :P I’d like to think of other ways to use them now! Linda suggested a pie, which I think would be awesome.

      • says

        Yeah, pie! I made an apricot cherry fold-over pie last year around this time – though I had to make it about six times to get it just right. Yeesh! Hopefully you’ll have better luck!

        Eva’s apricot rhubarb galette looks fantastic, too! I’m so curious about the infamous Jeni’s ice cream – that sounds insane! Though I must admit that Coffee Heath Bar Crunch was my very favorite when I was a kid, giant frozen toffee chunks and all. :)

        • says

          Oh man, not-quite-right pies are the worst. (Well, I guess they’re not the worst, but still…) It’s annoying to spend half a day working with pie dough and filling to get something that isn’t quite as perfect as you imagined. But when you get it right, it tastes extra good. :D

          Oh man, the Jeni’s ice cream. They started carrying it in our local natural foods store last summer. It’s $10, but it’s sooooo good, and they always have the most interesting flavors.

  7. says

    Sooooo this looks even better than I imagined in my head when you first told me about it. I probably shouldn’t have looked at this while starving because now all I want to eat is ice cream and I don’t have any :( But seriously, this is amazing!!! I think more fruits need to be roasted and turned into ice cream, it just brings out such a wonderfully robust flavor in them that they don’t tend to have raw.

  8. says

    Oh my GOSH! Carey this recipe looks amazing… gorgeous roasted fruit, creamy ice cream and impeccable food styling. Your photography is absolutely drool-worthy! I’ve never actually made ice cream, as I’ve always thought it to be incredibly difficult without a churner, but this looks delicious enough for me to attempt the “hand churning” method with a bowl and whisk (perhaps for a whole day, I don’t know exactly how long… but you know what? I don’t care! I just want this ice cream!). Just found your blog via Rachel Cooks (as a recommendation from Emily at Jelly Toast!). So glad I did. Love everything about Reclaiming Provincial. Can’t wait to read more of your recipes and stories xx

    • says

      Thank you so much, Laura! And thanks for pointing me towards Emily’s feature on Rachel’s site (yay!). :)

      Also, I bet the hand-churn method would work great (and rather quickly) for this ice cream. When I took it out of the fridge after letting it sit overnight, it was so thick, it could barely pour!

  9. says

    I didn’t grow up eating apricots. It’s not very popular in India. But ever since I tasted one, I fell in love and roasting it takes it to a whole new level. Love it plain, with yogurt and I am sure the ice cream you shared is heavenly!

    • says

      I could see how they could go SO well with yogurt. I actually considered making a frozen yogurt instead of an ice cream with this, but I decided to save that for some peaches. :D

  10. says

    I love your platters! all of them :) I don’t like all stone fruits but apricot is GOOD. I love roasted strawberry icecream and totally see why this would be great too.

    • says

      Thank you, Kulsum! I’m an avid collector (with no space for anything). Roasting definitely takes a lot of fruits to the next level. (Roasted strawberry ice cream — also a favorite!)

  11. says

    Gah!!! There are others out there like me!

    I had a passionate obsession with plum baby food until I was way beyond proper baby food consumption age. I remember my last day standing in the baby food aisle at the store, my hand simultaneously reaching for, and away from, that wee little jar.

    I didn’t have any siblings, though. Soooo.

    • says

      Ahh!! I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one. This confirms in my mind that it actually was quite delicious, and I wasn’t just a vindictive older sister. :)

  12. Tad says

    I don’t understand how so many people can think it sounds so good, but apparently not actually make it. I made it today and it is so good :) First apricots of the season here too! Thanks for the keeper!!!

  13. says

    You’re certainly not alone in your young love for apricot baby food. It was always a pleasantly stark contrast to the mysterious grit found in Gerber’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. Did I mention that your recipes and photography are really great and inspiring! I’m starting up a blog of my own, actually; a sort of overwrought, humorously verbose take on all manner of dishes. It’s called BreadandBourbon, and I would love for you to take a look. Keep up the good work here!


  14. says

    Okay, I did the exact same thing with baby food when I was about 4-5… but I didn’t have a younger sibling to be jealous of, I just flat-out liked baby food. People always look at me like I’m a freak, but come on… applesauce is good stuff, so why not pear, or plum, or apricot?

    Ice cream is pretty much my favorite thing ever, and I can tell I would love this – the flavors sound simple, but like they make for a very complex experience. I’ll bet a bit of rosemary would really make it pop!

    • says

      OK, so the fact that I’ve had a few people tell me they loved baby food and didn’t even have any younger siblings makes me feel SO much better. (I mean, I was definitely kind of a jerk as an older sister, but I thought maybe I’d just convinced myself that I loved apricot baby food, when in actuality I just loved being a jerk…)

      I would definitely love to revisit this ice cream with rosemary! I love herbs in desserts, and I think it would work so well with this. :)

  15. Sara says

    I am obsessed with cookie-ish additions to ice cream and yogurt ever since I had my first bite of the now defunct Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk (Sweet cinnamon ice cream with chunks of oatmeal cookies and a ribbon of fudge.) Then I found Safeway brand Butterscotch Oatmeal, as well as Snickerdoodle.

    Needless to say, I had to make this… right away. The only changes I made were to use oatmeal / oat flour rather than the almond meal and fat free yogurt in place of the buttermilk. Amazingness!

  16. says

    I have just stumbled upon this recipe (I check in every week or so to at least contain my drooling problem), and I think I need to make it as soon as possible. There’s just one thing. I live a bit further south, in the middle of a swamp. (No, not the Everglades. Washington, DC. And the swamp thing is not a joke.) Roasting is my preferred method of cooking basically everything in the colder months, but I try to keep the oven off in summer. Could the apricots be cooked in a Dutch oven instead? What about on foil on the grill?

    Many thanks!

    • says

      Yes! I 100% vote for throwing them on the grill in some foil. They should cook up just perfectly, and I think the grill will add an awesome flavor. If you try it, definitely let me know how it turns out!

      • says

        I did this! I put them on the grill on a double-layer of foil, heavily sprinkled with brown sugar, and left them on there ’till they were mushy. (I put them on the upper rack, further from the heat, with other food on the lower rack.) I got very little in the way of burn marks. I would not have believed they could have THAT much flavor. (Note: they did not taste like BBQ.) The final product tastes unbelievable! It is not nearly as lovely as yours, because I changed about 75 things about the recipe (I always do this – has nothing to do with the quality of the recipe). Specifically: forgot to pick up almond extract at the store. Was very sad, but had no time for another grocery run; substituted vanilla extract. Was convinced I didn’t have enough apricots (it turned out I had 15, so this was wrong) and also threw 3 peaches in there (they took twice as long on the grill) and regretted this when I remembered how much I prefer apricots. Happily, final flavor was excellent and no problems. However, had enormously more fruit than I was supposed to, so used 1.5 cups heavy cream and 1 cup 2% milk. (Was never planning on the buttermilk – I like my ice cream sweet.) Do not have a sieve (and cheesecloth seems unlikely here); was planning to peel the fruit before pureeing, but this proved too time-consuming, so I just pureed with the skins on and left them in. I maintain it gives the ice cream texture :). Skipped the streusel; was convinced this would freeze too hard, and was planning to add chopped almonds instead since I had some handy, but forgot to. Don’t have an ice cream maker, so I decided to use the whisk-every-30-minutes method but eventually was exhausted and went to bed, so unfortunately there are ice crystals and the final product is too hard (though delicious). Not sure whether it’s too late to re-melt and re-freeze with more agitation, or whether I have the energy for this. Like the idea of having an ice cream maker, but not of storing one, and considering trying the “whipped cream method” (1 pint heavy whipping cream heavily whipped + 1 can sweetened condensed milk to which you first add whatever your additive is – I don’t know whether there are limits; can this be an entire pound of pureed strawberries? – fold SCM and additives into whipped cream and put straight in freezer and allegedly it comes out perfect. I want to believe this is so, because I have plenty of implements to whip cream and then I could make pumpkin ice cream and apple cinnamon ice cream this fall, which even though I have never made ice cream before I am suddenly dying to do).

        Sorry for writing a book. Thanks for the magnificent recipe (that I butchered)!

        • says

          Yay! Thank you so much for following up! I love hearing about recipe adaptations and different techniques. (I totally do the same things with recipes, finding something that inspires me than changing a whole bunch of stuff.) :) I’m so glad the grilling method worked, and I also think maybe my sieve straining technique is a bit unnecessary. (I am one of those crazy people with texture issues — I hate fruit chunks in yogurt and pulp in orange juice. Which is probably the reason I own a thousand strainers of varying shapes and sizes!) And even though I have an ice cream maker, I’ve considered giving that whisk-every-30-minutes method a try, just to know how it works. (I’m lucky enough to have a received a KitchenAid stand mixer for xmas a couple years ago, and then I bought the ice cream bowl attachment a few months later. If I didn’t have that mixer, I probably wouldn’t have an ice cream maker, since I couldn’t justify buying a big-ish machine and trying to find some place to store it [which would be impossible in my apartment].)

          I’m very curious about that whipped cream and condensed milk recipe too. If you give it a go, let me know how it turns out. I hope it turns out really well, because those pumpkin and apple cinnamon ice creams would be AWESOME. :D

  17. says

    Dude, just taking a casual stroll through old pins (… normal?) and came back to this and just had to say how much I looooove the look of it. (Also, double parentheses.) The swirl is unbelievable! I’m also totally intrigued by the idea of fruit pectin adding structure to ice cream. Carey, you come up with the best stuff. I’m so excited that you’re back to blogging :):) (and, okay, this comment was also because I’m still not over how awesome it was to meet you and how awesome and wonderful you are!!!! come back to NY soon!!)

    • says

      Haha! I totally do the same thing. :D I was also perusing old posts on my site for future posting inspiration, and reminiscing about my summer of ice cream last year! And also being sad-mad because the freezer bowl attachment for my KitchenAid has started leaking blue mystery liquid whenever I put it in the freezer….wtf. Time to buy a different gadget!

      It was SO SO great to hang with you in NYC last week! I had such an awesome extended weekend down there, and I am dying to come back again soon! :D

    • carey says

      Sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy it. It is a rather tart ice cream (though I find the tartness pleasant, not overwhelming). It’s possible that the apricots you used were more on the tart side, which could skew the flavors. Swapping out the buttermilk for heavy cream would also mellow it out (as noted above).


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