This Rosemary Ice Cream with Pine Nut Pralines was inspired by a cookie, a rather well-known cookie that is served with butterscotch budino at Pizzeria Mozza here in Los Angeles. Which of course means this rosemary ice cream could have been an utter disaster. Get it “udder” disaster?
Anyway. One of my dirty little kitchen secrets is that I spent years making crappy ice cream. I could never understand why I made crappy ice cream. I mean I came up with some fantastic flavor combinations. I bubbled and boiled and broke new ground. I came up with culinary concoctions that would make any self-obsessed foodie proud. But it turns out being a self-obsessed foodie was exactly why I made crappy ice cream. I spent more time and energy coming up with the ideas for my frozen oddities than I did concentrating on making good ice cream.
What I’ve learned is that my artistic sensibilities were not enough. I needed to understand ice cream. I needed to know the science behind the magic of transforming cream into a lusciously lickable frozen confection. Oh, and the math too.
Because science and math are behind the transformation. All the good intention and artistic acumen in the world won’t help you one lick when creating flavors like this rosemary ice cream on your own. Get it one “lick”?
Anyway. Ice cream is water, butterfat, protein, sugar, starch, air and art suspended in a seemingly magical emulsion. It requires a deft balance of molecular science to make the mixture meld. It seems that all my creative additions were throwing that balance off. That’s why I made such crappy ice cream. You see when the proportions of water, protein and fat are out of sync your ice cream sucks.
All of this changed for me a couple of summers ago when I went to Columbus, Ohio and briefly met with Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams. Her enthusiastic introduction to what makes great ice cream made me curious. I went home from that meeting with her book in my hands. The book explains the molecular balance of good ice cream in amazing detail. It’s also the book that helped me find several building block bases for making good ice cream at home. I am now better able to choose a base method for ice cream that is compatible with all my artistic additions.
Which means my cookie-inspired Rosemary Ice Cream with Pine Nut Pralines became more than just another lofty idea. It become a lusciously lickable frozen confection that you can reproduce yourself at home. GREG