I’m a sucker for ice cream. Throw hot fudge into the mix for that contrast of hot and cold, and, well, it’s a slippery slope for me.
If you suffer from ice cream fever like I do, you have to try Little Park’s ice cream sundae, which I wrote about for Bloomberg News (totally thrilled to be working with them on a column that tells the story of exceptional restaurant dishes.) The beer ice cream is chocolaty, malty, and coffee-esc (heaven!), and quite simple to make. The puffed bulgur takes time to cook (four hours in the oven), and goes through five stages (raw, boiled, dried, fried, fried and coated) but the recipe is otherwise straightforward. Fried bulgur looks and tastes like Kashi cereal, and can be served on beef tartar, salads, and other desserts, or eaten as a snack. Make it in bulk because it keeps for days. Tossed with maple syrup and apple vinegar and topped on a sundae, puffed bulgur takes toppings to a whole new level.
The story I didn't get to in the article was that Little Park's pastry chef, Jennifer Luk, doesn't thicken her ice cream custard over the stove-top like traditional egg-based ice cream recipes do. I was stumped so I called my friend Kate Zuckerman, who was the pastry chef at Chanterelle for years and now is somewhat of an ice cream expert. She explained that Luk’s technique is more common than I thought.
I wanted to know more, so I did a side-by-side test. I tested her method of adding the eggs to the hot cream against the traditional technique of adding the eggs to the hot cream and then thickening it over the stove-top until it holds a line on the back of a spoon. The results were noticeable. The cooked base tasted tangier. The uncooked base tasted gentler and cleaner, but was icier (this I expected). I wasn’t expecting the tang, partly because the beer is added after the base is cooked and cooled.
For purposes of this article, it was important to kill bacteria in the egg, so I decided to cook the custard. I also liked its tanginess, which brought out the beer flavor more. This is truly an adult dessert for beer, chocolate, and coffee lovers everywhere. Try it!