We learned this sinfully delicious and simple-to-make hors d’oeuvre from Marta Pulini, a Modena, Italy–based chef. Marta was brought to The Franklin Institute by Panerai, the Italian watchmaker who sponsored the Galileo exhibit, and we assisted her in creating a wonderful press preview dinner. The success of this two-ingredient “ice cream” depends on the Parmesan produced in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Accept no substitutes. Marta served it with a drop of 35-year-old aged balsamic vinegar that she brought from her home. If you have access to such a product, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, the ice cream is wonderful served naked.
do ahead “Ice cream” and crostini can be made three days ahead. Store ice cream in refrigerator. Assemble just before serving.
4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated sliced raisin walnut bread or other nut-based bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups heavy cream
1 Set a mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. Add heavy cream. When the cream is very hot, about 5 minutes, add Parmigiano. Whisking occasionally, cook until cheese breaks down and melts into the cream, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and chill until cold, thick and scoopable, at least 4 hours.
2 Adjust an oven rack to the middle shelf and preheat oven to 325°. To make crostini, cut walnut bread into 24 small circles, squares or triangles. Lightly brush with butter. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly crisp but still pliable. Remove and cool.
3 To serve, spread ice cream on walnut bread or form a small scoop with a melon baller.
yields 24 pieces