Ricotta Pine Nut Brittle Ice-Cream

Does anybody else ask their visitors or company for food suggestions?  Sometimes I find planning a menu harder than executing one.  I often ask people who will be visiting  what their favorite ice-cream flavor is, or friends we plan to have for dinner if there’s something they miss and crave.   I don’t always promise that I’ll actually MAKE what they want, but I find it gives me direction, ideas, and motivation.

Most times, people say they are fine with anything.  “I know that people, otherwise we wouldn’t be friends!”  Once I push a little further, ensuring them that I really am not offended if they provide suggestions, some will be a little more specific.  And I love it.

Then there’s my foodie friends.  Don’t get me wrong, they can be shy too, but get over it MUCH quicker.  Recently, my favorite Montreal foodie friend was planning a visit here.  I only got her to myself for a literal 36 hours.  I messaged her and asked what we should eat together.  She said the obligatory ‘I’m just happy to be with you, I’ll eat anything!”.  I replied with something like ‘bla bla bla ya but really tell me some ice-cream flavor ideas at least….’.   She obliged, and the following message contained ideas all right: ricotta rum pistachio gelato, tiramisu, coco chocolate, peanut butter and jelly …… ahhhhh now that’s what I wanted. IDEAS!

I love making ice-cream.  If I was a better ice-cream photographer, I would have a new recipe up every week.  It’s sooooo much better than store bought, and you can make any combination that you dream of.

For example, I was intrigued by the ricotta rum gelato one, which she had seen on a recent episode of Chef’s Table.  I was only deterred by the pistachios, which I would have to shell, as the only bag of shelled pistachios is at Costco, an hour away.  And I was feeling lazy.  So I set out to make ricotta ice cream as a base and decide later.

I LOVED the base ice-cream, my husband loved it even more.  It’s not as sweet as most ice-creams, because of the ricotta; a little more tart but still ever so creamy.  The first time I made it, I was in the process of making the pine-nut brittle as the add in, but that’s when my son blew off his eyelashes in the ‘lighting the water heater incident’.  (If you missed that story, it’s here).    After we returned from the doctor, I found my friend and my daughter tossing in some chunks of Toblerone chocolate.   Let me tell you, that did not disappoint.

While I am obsessed with this version, my husband prefers the chocolate chunks.  He says this version makes the ice cream sweeter with the brittle, and he prefers it the original way, a little more tart.  I won’t judge you, make the base and toss in whatever you want to go with it.  Or nothing.  The base is glorious on it’s own.

And if you don’t have an ice-cream maker, GO. BUY. ONE.  You’ll have a much sweeter summer, I promise.




  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup honey


Warm the whipping cream with the sugar and salt in a small saucepan on medium low heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks well.  When the cream is warm, gradually add about 1/2 cup to the yolks, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs.  Pour yolks and cream mixture back into the pot with remaining cream.  Stir constantly on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats a wooden spoon so that you can see a line if you run your finger through it, usually about 5 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a clean bowl.  Add honey and ricotta.  Transfer to blender and puree until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

Churn mixture according to manufacturers instructions.  If adding nuts or chocolate or brittle, break into pieces and add the last few minutes of churning time.

Transfer to freezer safe dish and keep frozen.




  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 4 TAB butter


*It’s best to use a saucepan that is not dark on the bottom; otherwise it’s harder to tell when the sugar turns the color you want.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Place the sugar in a large saucepan over high heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt.  Lower the heat to medium and keep stirring just until sugar is melted.  Stop stirring and watch until sugar turns a medium caramel color.  (This should take about ten minutes but my stove is super high and it only took a few minutes for me.  Don’t leave the stove, watch it, it can burn fast). 

Add pine nuts and butter and stir to combine, about one minute.  Transfer the mixture to baking sheet and spread evenly.  (You can add sea salt if you would like, I forgot).  

Allow to cool completely.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.


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