Endless possibilities with ice cream and sorbet
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last week, we learned about the theoretical and practical aspects of making gourmet ice cream & sorbets. It’s one of the most profitable businesses in the food industry because there’s little labour involved (relatively speaking) and you can sell it by the scoop for over €3. That is assuming you live in a warm climate where people will be consuming lots of ice cream all year round.

The main ingredients to making any ice cream are milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and for sorbets, sugar, and fruit or fruit puree. The liquid mixture (before churning) is made almost the same way a crème anglaise. Except, there are certain ingredients that need to be added gradually at specific temperatures.

These ingredients are chemical additives that are necessary to keep your ice cream smooth and creamy in the freezer over a period of time. One of them is a stabilizer which prevents the formation of large ice crystals and also serves as an emulsifier which binds the water and fats together.

For the sugar content, we also replace some of it with glucose, atomized glucose, and inverted sugar which also helps to prevent crystallization. In the milk content, we replace some of it with the powdered form to give the ice cream more body.

Our ice cream maker. It can churn up to 3L of liquid at a time. I'm surprised how big a machine is required to churn such a small amount.

We made over 10 different ice cream and sorbet mixtures. We churn them starting from the lightest colour to the darkest to save us from washing the machine many times. For ice creams, we made vanilla, mint, pistachio, and chocolate. For sorbets, we made pear, lemon, orange, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry. We used both fresh fruits and high-quality frozen fruit purees in our recipes.

After making sure we lock our ice cream machine properly (or it will spill out endlessly), we pour the mixture into the machine through the funnel to be cooled rapidly and churned.

After churning for about 12 minutes. We let the frozen ice cream out of the machine, and into the freezer to be used later. We were all dipping our spoons and spatulas into each new ice cream or sorbet that was coming out.

Our first ice cream cake we made is called the Vacherin. It's a ring of ladyfinger-shaped meringues filled first with a layer of pistachio ice cream.

And then chocolate ice cream.

And then a cloud of chantilly cream.

Next, I made macaron shells for our ice cream sandwiches. It was disastrous. Using the same macaron recipe we used during our 2-day macaron making marathon, I made one large batch which I used to make rectangle and normal (circle) macaron shells as seen below. The rectangles came our perfectly (not pictured) but the shells were a complete failure. So how could this happen? Same batter, same oven, just different shapes. Can you guess?

Apparently, using the wrong type of parchment paper will result in these deformed macarons. The parchment paper that I used can deform (contract) when baked. This problem is compounded when the paper has been previously used and/ or was wet. When the parchment wrinkles, the macarons obviously change shape because they're not baking on a flat surface.

For the rectangular ones I made that turned out fine, I used a Silpat sheet so I didn't have this problem. It's not necessary to use Silpat, but definitely use the right parchment paper! Between the macaron shells, we sandwiched a bar of raspberry and lemon sorbet.

Of course, whenever we make a failed recipe, Chef will always make us do it again. This time, I used the right type of parchment paper and as expected, they came our perfectly.

We filled some of these with lemon sorbet and some others with strawberry sorbet.

This one is a duo strawberry and lemon sorbet-filled macaron.

Next, we practiced our nougatine (almond in caramelized sugar) making skills from last week (the base for our croque-en-bouche). This time, we made an edible pot complete with with handles and a lid.

Inside the nougatine pot, we made a sheet of sponge cake to sit inside.

Then, we scooped balls of different sorbets and put them inside the nougatine pot.

Put the lid on and it's ready to serve. Mine is still sitting in the freezer. This probably looks prettier than it is appetizing. Although the sorbets we made were all excellent, I'm not sure all that rock-hard nougatine will be very nice on your teeth.

Next, we moved on to making an ice cream cake. Aside from the obvious ingredient (ice cream), we had to make a decorative cake strip around the edge, an almond cake base, a layer of parfait (in the centre), a layer of no-churn sorbet (also in the centre), and finally the ice cream or sorbet that covers the whole cake.

To make the decorative strip of cake around the edge, we add food colouring to a batch of almond sponge cake and spread a very thin layer on a Silpat sheet.

We take a ruler and run the butter down the Silpat sheet to create lines. Then we freeze it.

A closer inspection of the lines of almond sponge cake created with a special a ruler.

After freezing (no it didn't turn green, just another batch), we make a plain almond sponge cake and spread it over the frozen lines of cake. Then we bake.

After baking, this is the beautiful result we get! We each made different colours to match our own ice cream cake flavours.

Here's the almond sponge cake layer which forms the base of our ice cream cake. A decorative strip of cake is also placed on the bottom half of our cake ring.

Then, we fill the cake ring with ice cream or sorbet. For my cake, I made a vanilla ice cream.

Then, I made a no-churn pear sorbet (shown above) which will go inside the ice cream cake. On top of the pear sorbet is a layer of caramel parfait (no-churn ice cream) which is shown below.

After freezing the pear and caramel layer, we unmold it and put it inside our ice cream cake which is covered with vanilla ice cream. Then, we cover the top with more vanilla ice cream and freeze it to let it all really set well.

After freezing, we unmold the cake and voila, the most sophisticated ice cream cake I've ever known.

Here's my friend's blackberry sorbet ice cream cake filled with passion fruit sorbet (no churn), cointreau parfait (no churn), and almond sponge cake.



One Glorious Comment
  • Esther
    December 20, 2011
    They all look amazingly delicious! You need to fly back ASAP and teach me how to make them, or maybe just feed me :)