Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Tropical Ice Cream Plate

Posted by osakaben41 on August 22, 2009

ice cream

The Cookbook library is starting to grow out of control these days, but my last remaining justification is that I’ve used each one at least once.  With that in mind, I had to get around to doing something from the amazing CIA textbook, Frozen Desserts by Francisco Migoya.  The decision to buy this one wasn’t easy at the time.  It’s expensive (but I had a coupon), the aesthetic is much more stark and modern than rustic and homey (Think Mies van der Rohe vs. This Old House), and as it was written for the professional pastry chef, calls for ingredients (Trimoline?) and tools (Pacojet?) that I don’t think my wife will let me get.

ice cream2

But my god the pictures are cool.  So let’s be honest here, if nowhere else, I’m a sucker for the visual.  I’m sure there are some great cookbooks with amazing innovative ideas on every page, but I’ll always gravitate to the full sized glossy picture book given a choice.  Besides, if we’re going to call this an exploration, I need to work outside of some narrow comfort zone, if only to learn how to make these things. 

The recipe, or at least the picture, this project is based on was for a Lemon Verbena frozen soufflé with orange blossom honey over a crème fraiche cake.  Believe me, I tried everywhere to find Lemon Verbena leaves, but came up short.  However the inestimable Nordljus was able to provide a more accessible inspiration with her Coconut Milk/Lemongrass ice cream, and Charlie Trotter had an interesting Pineapple/Buttermilk Sherbet that took all of 10 minutes to whip up.

ice cream3

But if we weren’t using truly obscure ingredients this week, the challenge would have to be about presentation.  Now Migoya spells out in very simple terms how to compose this dessert using PVC pipes of all things, but I ended up with stainless steel Cannolli molds that will hopefully come into play with future experiments.  The tricky part was to fill them quickly enough so the Sherbet didn’t melt and run all out of the bottom (no amount of tin foil or plastic wrap would keep this stuff in place), but thoroughly enough to avoid all air pockets in the tubes.


The second challenge was to extract these from the tubes and plate them before they started to melt.  Not sure how this is done in a professional kitchen if not in a walk-in freezer, but Boston in August gives you a very narrow window to work with.

This kind of plated presentation didn’t lend itself well to delivering to friends and neighbors, but worked just fine for a visiting mother-in-law.  All I wanted to do was to plate it once and take a few pictures, after which, any other servings would just be an excuse to practice making quenelles.

ice cream 4

Taste-wise, the individual flavors worked pretty well on their own, while the lime rind and pineapple chip ended up more as a decorative element than anything else.  I’d avoid pairing sherbet and ice cream together on the same plate though, and to a degree the creamy coconut milk clashed with the watery pineapple sherbet.  I tried it again the next day with just the ice-cream and it worked much better.  

Perhaps this success can be parleyed into more exotic experiments down the road, like a Balsamic Sorbet, Thomas Keller’s Red Beet Sorbet, or maybe even a savory Jalapeño sorbet


2 Responses to “Tropical Ice Cream Plate”

  1. Jill said

    AMAZING!! I didn’t even scroll past the above post and then after I commented I saw this! You are really talented at plated desserts. I know this takes some practice–that was a tougher class for me when I was in culinary school. I had an idea in my head, but sometimes it wouldn’t translate to the plate–well done! 🙂

  2. osakaben41 said

    Thanks Jill,

    I’m still just stealing ideas from pictures online, but love the idea of having “plated dessert homework”. Culinary school sounds like a hoot.

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