The New Food52 Flavor: Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel

Last summer, we and our friends at the James Beard Award-winning Food52 asked readers to create a new flavor using Jeni’s basic ice cream recipe from the James Beard Award-winning Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

Hundreds of entries from around the United States poured in, and in the end Jeni and Food52 declared Columbus resident and avid home cook Stefani McGuiness the winner, thanks to the delicious creation she submitted Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel, which is available now in our scoop shops and at

For the record, we swear the Columbus ties are a coincidence. Neither Jeni nor the folks at Food52 knew the names or addresses of the contestants when they began to sift through the recipes. But, hey, what we can say? We’re really proud to be making a fellow Columbusite’s ice cream that Jeni calls “a heroic concerto of flavor.”

To make the limited-edition Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel ice cream, our kitchen team steeps crushed Spanish saffron in grass-grazed Snowville cream, blends in the Olive Orchard‘s bold, grassy, organic Italian olive oil, and for the final touch, our from-scratch orange caramel sauce is swirled throughout.

Stefani, a liaison between Ohio teachers and a Washington D.C. non-profit that creates standardized tests, says she’s always made ice cream from scratch with varying results. But when she began using Jeni’s basic recipe from Splendid Ice Creams at Home, a recipe that omits eggs, she says her creations yielded ice cream with creamier texture and more consistent flavor.

“You can taste every ingredient you add when you use her recipe,” Stefani says. “When you use eggs you can’t. The eggs mask the flavors of what you add. It’s just a cleaner tasting ice cream.”

And what flavor will Stefani pull out of the book of flavors ideas she’s constantly updating?

“I’m trying to make a ginger, cardamom, and rhubarb ice cream and I really want to try one with baklava,” she says.

Whatever Stefani comes up with we can’t wait to try it. Bravo, Stefani and keep up the delicious work.

And now, here’s how we make Stefani’s Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel ice cream:

First we make the orange caramel sauce. Sugar is burnt/caramelized in a kettle, before cream is added:

Once the orange caramel sauce achieves the proper consistency, it’s poured into a bucket and set aside to cool before it’s blended into the olive oil and saffron ice cream:

Intensely aromatic Spanish saffron (dried, the thread-like stigmas of crocus flowers) is added to cream:

Saffron-laced cream is brought to a boil and poured into buckets:

The Olive Orchard’s organic olive oil is blended with saffron-laced cream:

After the ice cream is extracted from the ice cream machine (not shown), the from-scratch orange caramel sauce is blended by hand into pints and buckets, and the result is the must-try Food52 flavor Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel ice cream, created by Food52/Jeni’s contest winner Stefani McGuiness: