Monday, February 02, 2009

Ice Cream PollyAnna

300 grams of Malted Milk powder.

Whenever I visit Los Angeles at least one day is spent with Polly and Anna touring around the city's gastronomic delights. From French to coffee to farm to table to Thai to Japanese to Mexican and, eventually, to ice cream. During these travels, one ice cream has stood out amongst all others: the Brown Bread Ice Cream from that small and fabulous ice cream shop on Heliotrope known as Scoops.

Since our first sample of that ice cream two years ago, we've been fanatical about it. Today, I decided that we were going to attempt to break the DaVinci Code and copy that flavor.

Blend malt into flavoring base.

The one major component (besides the obvious Grape Nuts cereal) was the lively malt flavor of the ice cream. Originally, I thought about malting a vanilla based ice cream but Isaiah guided us towards using the plain base mixed with a lightly malted flavoring base to make the final mix.

Since Isaiah normally keeps an ice cream base of egg yolks, sugar, whole milk, heavy cream and atomized glucose always in stock, we just needed to create a flavoring base to add to the ice cream base. It's a relatively simple concoction of cream, sugar and whatever flavor you're creating. In this case, we're adding 300g of Carnation Malted Milk Powder.

Isaiah loads the ice cream mix into the batch freezer for spinning.

The powder is a bit of a pain to work with and requires a blender to cut the powder in and fully hydrate it. While any blender could do, it's probably best to use a VitaPrep blender with the variable speed control. Start at a slow speed and cut the malt powder into the blend. Too high a speed and you'll end up with malted sweet whipped cream.

Next up, combine the flavoring with the base and mix thoroughly. From there the mix is ready to be spun in an ice cream batch freezer for about ten minutes and until it reaches the desired consistency.

Mix in 250g of Grape Nuts into spun ice cream.

Our ice cream test ready for hardening.

After spinning, pump it out, mix with Grape Nuts cereal, smoothen it out and place in a freezer to harden overnight. A couple of quick tests later (read: several spoonfuls), and it tastes like we're on the right track.

Twenty-four hours later, I go in to check on the progress. It's hardened nicely but I think the malt flavor is a bit too intense and there's too much texture from the Grape Nuts. For those of you who are familiar with Grape Nuts' hard and crunchy texture, the ice cream softens the cereal without making it soggy. It's got a nice softness with a little crunch. Just right.

24 hours later, it's hard.

The only problem is that there's too much in each bite that it's all texture at the sacrifice of ice cream creaminess. Ideally, there should be a balance between the creamy and the crunch. Perhaps less cereal and an uneven swirl distribution.

Otherwise, I think we're close to the flavor profile I'm looking for. Soften the intensity and even out the creaminess and we should be there. I'll report back.

A quick serving of Ice Cream PollyAnna.