Ice Cream - most would agree that it can be considered as the world's best remedy. Remedy for what exactly? I'm not really sure but when Ice Cream is involved you can pick and choose any ailment and 9 times out of 10 a nice big scoop will cure it. I know this, because currently I have been constantly attacked by super immune system attacking bugs and Ice Cream is my constant companion.
I was beyond excited when a few weekends ago, the sweet-as-strawberry-sorbet Rhonda aka The Dainty Baker asked me if I wanted to join her at for a Gourmet Ice Cream Making Class at Serendipity HQ in Marickville. Hell to the Yes! With summer fast approaching (yes - I know its the second week of December but these rains are not easing at all, so I am in Summer denial) I really wanted to have a go. So what better way to spend a Saturday morning than learning the tricks of the Ice Cream trade with Sarah Mandelson, CEO of Serendipity Ice Cream.
Serendipity Ice Cream is known for it Australian Made Ice Creams, with flavours that just awaken the tastebuds from your everyday ordinary varieties. They use top notch ingredients and the result is a bowlful of the creamiest, most luxiorious dessert. I was most excited to find out what flavour we were making. For today's class, we were making a batch of Wattleseed and Grand Marinier Ice cream. What a combo huh? As a group, we gather around the industrial kitchen and all listen attentively to Sarah. Some of us take turns in preparing the 2 main components - The creme anglaise, and the Sugar Syrup.
Because we were making such a large batch we pretty much had to quadruple the recipe. Anyone who tells me that "fat is not a dirty word" is pretty much an idol in my books. Fat is a big requirement in the ice cream making process and scrimping on the fat content of the milk or cream would sacrifice that smooth velvety texture. To make the creme anglaise - our "base" we mix the milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks in a double boiler. Stirring continuously and making sure to melt the sugar until the mixture thickens - we then leave this to cool.
Making the sugar syrup is the second part of the process and is crucial as this is where all the flavour gets added. Sarah tells us that the amount of sugar added plays an important role in developing the texture of Ice Cream. Because sugar depresses the point of freezing, thus you are not scooping iced rocks out of the tub sitting in the back of your freezer. Too much sugar will make the mixture too soft where as too little will result in the iced rocks mentioned. Sarah also tells us that different sugar substitutes can also be used - for example, Glucose, will not add sweetness but will play the same role as sugar. These different sugars are measured and substituted weight for weight. In the sugar syrup we make, we add the wattleseed and some orange rind for the flavour.
With the creme anglaise already cooled, and the flavours added to our sugar syrup we were on a roll. Sarah mixes everything together in a giant bucket and makes sure that the mixture is thoroughly combined. Of course, you have to cool the flavoured sugar syrup before adding it to the creme anglaise or else you'll end up "cooking the mixture". They do things BIG here at Serendipity.In goes the good stuff - some Grand Marnier flavouring - yum! Sarah warns us about the danger of adding alcohol to ice cream as it may affect the freezing process. The grand marnier we use is an extract specifically for culinary purpose. It has a stronger flavour which we can smell across the room. Usually, regular alcohol gets added to the sugar syrup and mixed through so that the alcohol cooks outs. Sarah warns us not to stand about the saucepan during this and you can easily get boozed from the alcoholic fumes evaporating.
Now that our mixture is complete, Sarah leads us to her churning room and introduces us to her 3 Ice Cream Machines. And all this time I thought good ice cream just fell from the heavens. In it goes..
Its a pretty powerful churner and after a few minutes, out goes our super creamy and wattle-seedy mixture. Sarah explains to us that some large companies add air into their mixture while churning the ice cream to create more volume, whereas a good quality ice cream like Serendipity's has no air, thus keeping that creamy texture. While we were waiting Sarah had all of us drooling as she put a huge bucket of melted Belgian Chocolate sauce right in front of us. This we were told, was for the swirls we add to the mixture and we were free to add as much or as little as we wanted. Hooray indeed!Above: finished product. A creamy Grand Marnier and Wattleseed bucket of gold
I turn to my left and Rhonda is busily adding choc swirls to her bucket and packing her container.
Of course we got to sample our work immediately - we didn't have to wait patiently until we arrived home!
Above - The wattleseed mixture with pure belgian chocolate drizzle, fo' shizzle my nizzle.
How cute is Rhonda's apron! Totally Jealous! Looking around the Serendipty kitchen they also had the different moulds for their custom ice cream desserts - such as this pyramid mould for fancy semifreddo'sWhat amused me the most was that in the industrial kitchen, all 3 Ice Cream churners has their own Italian name. Mario, Gina and my favorite - Guido.
Serendipity is just a playground for tastebuds and heaven for gourmet ice cream lovers. Im regretting not buying a box of that delicious Belgian Chocolate Syrup!
They have the most amazing and creative flavours - Coconut and Kaffir lime!
With our Ice creams labelled and packed in dry ice we proud Ice Cream makers were not content with this sugar fix - did someone say Brunch?? But of Course!
Rhonda suggested we head to Bourke St Bakery, and thinking of those delectable tarts and savoury treats - there was no hesitation at all from me!
Yes - this is exactly what two people, that just spent the morning making Ice Cream, ordered and ate. My oh my. We order the standard BSB fare - Strawberry Creme Brulee Tart, Ginger Brulee Tart and the Lemon Curd tart. Yup, Tarts for Tarts! To balance things out of course we had to get a lamb and Harissa sausage roll and I had to try this pancetta pizza. This "white" based pizza was something I had not come across during my previous visits to BSB and boy was it delicious. As the pizza is heated, the pancetta comes out crunchy - perfect with the rosemary and salt flavoured thin bread base. Definitely something I would look out for in my next visit.
So yes - it was an awesome Saturday indeed. Food and great company is the cure to any ailment, and since I am feeling under the weather once again I am sure it will all disappear come this Saturday's Food Blogger Christmas Picnic. As I am still new to this blogging world (Along with Demos of course) its always just great to hang out with fellow food bloggers and new friends. Can't wait!
Until then, I will be ignoring this painfully sore throat and taking another serve of ice cream. Seriously, who needs medication? Ice Cream via I.V. - too good!
Serendipty Ice Cream - 333 Enmore Road, Marrickville
Ice Cream class was $80, for dates call 02 9557 8986