Over the past few years, one dessert has consistently topped the National Restaurant Association’s list of hot culinary trends. The cool treat that has kept chefs talking is artisanal ice cream. These bowls of dairy greatness provide a satisfying end to an evening of dining, even when it’s chilly outside. Anyone pursuing a culinary arts certificate online should take note of the fresh ingredients and painstaking preparation that go into crafting the most inventive and delicious flavors available today.
What goes into exceptional ice cream
Creating artisan-style ice cream takes time, effort and the right equipment, but the tasty results are worth it. Jeni Britton-Bauer of Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, shared her methods for making a delicious batch of ice cream with Food & Wine. Culinary academy students can get started with a basic vanilla bean recipe and then start experimenting with other flavors and additions.
“Artisan-style ice cream takes time, effort and the right equipment.”
Begin by combining two tablespoons of whole milk with cornstarch. In a bigger bowl, whisk cream cheese until it’s smooth. Prepare another, even larger, bowl by filling it with ice water.
Mix some more milk with heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and a split vanilla bean, along with its seeds, in a saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a boil, and then cook on medium for about four minutes. Watch for the sugar to dissolve before removing from heat and adding the cornstarch mixture.
After whisking, bring the saucepan’s contents to a boil again and cook at medium-high heat for a minute. When the mixture starts to thicken, whisk it into the cream cheese, seasoning with salt. Place the bowl in the ice water to cool for 20 minutes.
Strain the mixture into an ice cream maker to freeze. Then, transfer the ice cream into a plastic container, packing it in and covering with plastic wrap before fastening an airtight lid. Place the container in a freezer for about four hours or until the ice cream is firm.
The coolest varieties
Artisan ice cream makers are constantly coming up with great flavor combinations that go way beyond mint and chocolate chip. With some creativity and intriguing ingredients, there are countless ways to put a personal stamp on these frozen concoctions.
High Road Craft Ice Cream, based in Atlanta, takes that individuality seriously, pasteurizing its own dairy and using regionally produced nuts, buttermilk and berries. The signature flavor brings together Kentucky bourbon and burnt sugar. Fans who want to offer ice cream to an entire party can even order a five-liter pan that serves 20.
Founded in Portland, Oregon, Salt & Straw now also has several locations in Los Angeles, all drawing on regionally specific ingredients for unique ice cream varieties. For instance, shops in both cities offer an apple brandy and pecan flavor, but in each case they use a locally made spirit in the base. There are also exclusive flavors like Congressman Blumenauer’s Fruitcake, which is available in Portland for the holiday season and inspired by its namesake’s devotion to giving the classic Christmas dish as a gift.
Colorado culinary arts students will find plenty of ideas from visiting nearby shops. Lik’s, which has locations in Denver and Conifer, serves up creations like the adobe pie – a dark mocha ice cream with fudge and graham cracker – and wild raspberry cheesecake. Owner Jay Thompson explained to The Denver Post what motivates him to come up with unconventional ideas.
“I’ve tapped into the creative part of my being,” he said. “It’s definitely an outlet for my expression.”
There are good reasons behind the enduring popularity of artisanal ice cream. This is a dessert that shows off regional ingredients and brings smiles to patrons, no matter if the weather is scorching or just as cold as the dessert.