Chatting our way to cantaloupe ice cream

Cantaloupe ice cream

We were, as per usual in Gourmandistan, having a conversation about food as we traveled to the market. Specifically, Steve was thinking about cantaloupe curd, and whether it would be good. We’ve had successful stabs at peach curd and grapefruit curd, and since melons are in season Steve wondered if the curd process could be applied to cantaloupe. Michelle thought it sounded interesting, but feared the delicate flavor of the melon might be affected by the heat necessary to make a curd. Instead, she suggested sorbet. Steve, still wanting something creamy, countered with cantaloupe ice cream—and a new Gourmandistan dessert was born.

Yes, we wish we had Charentais melons. But you never see them here.

Yes, we wish we had Charentais melons. But you never see them here.

The ice cream recipe almost couldn’t be easier, so of course we couldn’t stop there. Steve was thinking about a thyme-laced whipped cream, but Michelle’s opinion is that outside of a sundae or banana split more cream isn’t appropriate. (Steve continues to disagree.) Instead, she created a honey-verbena syrup spiked with cubed cantaloupe, plus threw in some semi-successful verbena butter cookies on the side.

Cantaloupe ice cream

All in all, it ended up being quite a delicious discussion. With fruit season in full swing, we’ll probably keep talking.


Ice cream:

  • 1/2 a large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (about 1 lb. flesh)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. crème fraîche
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • Pinch of salt

Purée cantaloupe and sugar in food processor. Remove to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Freeze ice cream according to ice cream maker’s instructions. Remove from ice cream maker and put in a container in freezer until needed. (NOTE: This ice cream is better in the first 24 hours or so. After that, it becomes a little bit crumbly.)


  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 4 tsp. water
  • 5 or 6 lemon verbena leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup or so cantaloupe, cut into 1/4″ or so squares
  • Thin slivers of lemon verbena leaves

Place honey and water in a tiny saucepan. Add lemon verbena to pan. Heat over low heat until warmed but not boiling.  Set aside. When cool, drain through a fine strainer, discarding lemon verbena.

Pour over cantaloupe squares. Mix in lemon verbena leaf slivers to taste.


Scoop ice cream into serving bowls. Pour topping over. Garnish with additional lemon verbena leaves, if desired.


  1. I’m thinking a compromise — honey verbena whipped cream — would’ve been the sublime solution. Well, actually, proscuitto whipped cream is probably what I would’ve been thinking about. 🙂 We get Charentais sometimes at the market here. Tasty little buggers…

    • Oh, dear god. If Steve reads this, I’ll have to make it again with ham. 😉 Lucky for you re the Charentais! We tried growing them once. I remember making these little cradles for them out of (yes, there was such a thing) pantyhose. Still, they rotted and/or split and/or turned out insipid.

      • Anything that requires that much effort is a bit too precious for me. I bet they don’t do that in France. Wait… they’re French, maybe they do… (I was thinking about Italy.)

  2. I had one of the best cantaloupes of my life while in Florence and ever since I’ve been toying with the idea of making a cantaloupe ice cream. You’ve just saved me the effort, Michelle, and I can’t wait to give your recipe a try. Thanks!

    • Thanks, John! I believe somebody may have asked below if the ones in France are the same as the ones as Italy. I bet they’re at least very similar. So good! But we had little luck growing those little ones and I guess nobody else around here does because I never see them.

    • So true! I don’t love weird ice cream flavors (which seem to be the rage these days). But I must admit that melon and prosciutto is a wonderful combination. 🙂

  3. Wow, this is so intriguing. I’ve had melon charentais with vanilla ice cream, prosciutto, Port wine, in salads, smoothies, and gazpachos, but I would never have thought of actually making ice cream. I guess if you have a perfectly sweet and ripe fruit, the result is bound to be delicious! It certainly looks so from the pictures.

  4. What a yummy summer dessert … perfect for the heat about to close in around us out here in the African bush. The color is beautiful, too, especially contrasted with the green leaves of the lemon verbena.

      • It is winter here now, yes, but people in North America might roll their eyes at our temperatures. We have mild, sunny, dry days and chilly nights for about three months. Our midsummer, on the other hand, is very, very hot. Sweltering, actually, so our optimum growing season for vegetables is winter. Thank you so much for following my blog! I love yours!

  5. annakathleenbarrett

    Oh wow! This looks wonderful. So great to choose fruit of the season and make something beautiful out of it. Delish!

  6. that´s what I call a fruitful discussion! Looks refreshing, sounds great, and I must say I´d have had similar fears regarding the melon curd. Guess this dessert is a perfect compromise, with a very elegant finish!

  7. The first picture looks lovely. The recipe likewise. I say first picture because, I am looking at this on my iPad. There is a picture in the list of blogs I follow and none in the post. On my own post, it shows my first image in the reader, not my featured image. What’s going on?

    Sorry for the rant. Lovely ice cream would probably cool my fraying nerves.

    • Goodness knows, Conor. I guess it’s just one of the many mysteries of WordPress. When I remember to do so, I select a featured photo for the landing page. But I never know what is going to pop up on the iPad or on the phone. It seems rather random. And, sometimes, on my (ancient and nearly dead) phone, I will see, for example, a title and photo from you with a post from, say, Cooking in Sens, in the reader all jumbled up. So, I certainly understand the rant! And, thanks.

  8. Hi Michelle,
    Nicely played. I really am intrigued with the cantaloupe ice cream concept. My memory seems to recall my grandmother making a cantaloupe buttermilk sherbet. Something about the buttermilk really accentuated the cantaloupe’s sweetness. Have a beautiful Saturday!


    • Thanks, Janet! You know, I was thinking of buttermilk when we made this, but I didn’t have any. I imagine the little of bit of crème fraîche in there probably had about the same effect, don’t you? Hope you have a lovely weekend, too. (Oh, and I am really enjoying your photo series!)

      • I bet you hit it perfectly with the creme fraiche. I was just reminiscing, as I do.

        Thank you for the lovely compliment. Just working things out that really aren’t food related (too much). 😉

  9. Lovely story, photos and recipe. We have made cantaloupe ice cream several times in the past. It is wonderful and one of my favorite ice creams. I love Sean Colgrin’s thought on the prosciutto whipped cream as the final topping. I do a cantaloupe gazpacho with a prosciutto and mint garnish that is sublime. Prosciutto and cantaloupe just go so well together. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Now, that does sound delicious! And I was amazed when I Googled it how many hundreds and hundreds of cantaloupe ice creams there were out there because I hadn’t had it before (I don’t think). Clearly, it’s a winning flavor.

  10. Gorgeous, gorgeous! I love any ice ream recipe that doesn’t require you to make a custard base first. Those things are a royal pain. It reminds me of David Liebovitz’s fresh apricot ice cream, similarly no custard. Just cream and ripe fruit. Very, very pretty, you two!

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