Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Jetting For Paco

The ingredients for Paco Jet Ice Cream.

Back in the Jays Shave Ice days, we used to make soft serve ice cream. I loved it. The luscious texture of the ice cream fresh from the freezer - I used to fill the cake cones just to the edge for my evil treats.

Every once in a while, I would take a tub, fill it with soft serve, mix it with aggregate (like chips, honey or snickers) and freeze, creating a sort of hard-packed ice cream. Then when Spike opened Woodberry Kitchen, I would hang out observing Isaiah making fresh ice cream in a Lab 100, and if it spun too long, turn into butter.

Later, I would reflect wondering how our then commercial mixes at Jays Shave Ice avoided the butter stage even after churning in the soft serve machine for hours on end. It just didn't make sense to me that we could make an in-house soft serve ice cream that would not churn into butter. And it confounded me that David Chang was doing his own soft serve at Momofuku.

From there, I turned to Arbuckle's book on ice cream and found a bit of information that didn't quite make sense to my non-science oriented mind. For my food chemist aunt who gave me the book, it must be easy peasy, but to my filmmakers background, I was swimming.

Arbuckle talked of stabilizers and industrial processes and it just seemed out of my league. I just wanted to make a high fat content soft serve that was delicious, thoughtfully sourced and wouldn't churn into butter, because it really sucks to clean out freezer barrels that have chunky butter stuck inside.

It wasn't until reading Kriss Harvey's Paco Jet centric blog that I started to "get it" that the key to proper ice cream is controlling the fat content and utilizing "industrial" stabilizers to keep everything copacetic.

Stick blending the mix with a Waring (thanks Giuliana!).

Fast forward to tonight where I've returned to the secret workshop of Woodberry Kitchen to whip up some of Kriss Harvey's Paco Jet ice cream recipes.

The basic recipe is relatively simple. Milk, cream, egg yolk, vanilla beans, milk powder, atomized glucose and Cremodan 30 stabilizer. The last two ingredients sound scary but they're really not. They're all food-based derivatives.

Heat, mix, strain, cool and freeze into the beakers. I'll be back over the weekend to spin the ice cream and see just how they turn out.