Akutaq (ah-goo-duck), or Eskimo Ice Cream, is a delicacy that Alaskan Natives have enjoyed for thousands of year. Unlike the creamy and dairy-filled version of ice cream, Eskimo Ice Cream is derived from animal fats and oils mixed with berries and occasionally ground fish.

The word Akutaq is actually a Yupik word meaning, "mix it together." This high-calorie concoction kept the hunters energized and healthy while on long expeditions in the cold and dangerous landscape.

Nowadays, Eskimo ice cream is made with Crisco vegetable shortening, and still served at potlatches, funerals, and other celebrations as a desert, snack, or spread.

Alaskans love to share their traditional foods with the cheekajkos, or Alaskan newcomers—at least those who are brave enough to try it. Below is a modern recipe for this traditional arctic energy bar, if you dare to make it. 

#SpoonTip: It is best to choose berries that are in season.

Modern Eskimo Ice Cream

  • Prep Time:0
  • Cook Time:2 hrs
  • Total Time:2 hrs
  • Servings:5
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup Crisco Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water berry juice or 2 cups loose snow
  • 4 cups mixed berries
Photo by Lorcan Cannon
Photo by Lorcan Cannon

Step 1

Slice the Crisco into small pieces then add to a pot over low heat. Stir slowly and constantly until liquid. Never let the mixture get hotter than is comfortable for your hand.
Photo by Lorcan Cannon
Photo by Lorcan Cannon

Step 2

Once the Crisco is melted into a liquid, gradually add in sugar while continuing to stir. Continue until all the sugar is dissolved and liquid.
Photo by Lorcan Cannon
Photo by Lorcan Cannon

Step 3

Once the mixture is all liquid, remove the pot from heat, but continue to stir. Add in 1/4 cup of water (or 1 cup of snow) to the mixture. As the mixture starts to cool it will thicken and get more fluffy and white. Then, add in the other 1/4 cup of water (or 1 cup of snow).

Step 4

When the mixture is as fluffy and white as you can get it, fold in the berries. Form into desired shape or place in desired container and then put in freezer to firm.
Photo by Lorcan Cannon
Photo by Lorcan Cannon

Step 5

Let sit for 1 hour before serving.
Photo by Lorcan Cannon
Photo by Lorcan Cannon