Frozen Jose Mier Goes on an Alaskan Adventure: Eskimo Ice Cream

Akutaq: Eskimo ice cream

Think of frozen desserts and part of us imagines the snowy environs of the great Alaskan Wilderness. Out of all fifty states this one is certainly the best equipped to keep things frozen. If you’ve read my other Frozen Jose Mier articles you know I’m listing the ice creams favored in each of the states of our union and for Alaska, our 49th, it’s Eskimo Ice Cream or Akutaq in the native language.

Akutaq: Eskimo ice cream
Akutaq: Jose Mier’s most exotic dessert to date!

Just what is it? Well ancient Inuits certainly didn’t have easy access to cream or sugar so the first iteration of this dessert was made with whipped fat (reindeer, moose or caribou) and oil (from seal, whale or walrus) and berries native to Alaska like cranberries and blueberries. Seems that even our igloo-dwelling neighbors needed a sweet treat after meal.

Nowadays the modern version of this dessert is made with those ingredients the ancient peoples lacked: sugar and cream. Some purists still make it the old-fashioned way or at least with a nod to tradition by substituting the animal fats with shortening. You can find both recipes and can choose which you’d like to try on What’s Cooking America.

When I started researching frozen desserts I had no idea I’d run across something so exotic—although black sesame ice cream comes close. And the scope of the United States is so vast that I shouldn’t be surprised to find special frozen delicacies like this.

I don’t have any reindeer fat handy and I’d be hard pressed to find snow here in Frozen Jose Mier’s home of Los Angeles so for me my Eskimo ice cream will be the bastardized version. Basically a berry-flavored ice cream. However, the next time I’m in Juneau I’ll be tempted to try the real thing. My only question is, do they serve it on cones?