Ice cream, good ice cream, is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make. Trust me, I make a lot of it. Cream and milk are heated with vanilla bean on a stove in equal amounts (say 3 cups and 3 cups) until they are just below boiling and then tempered into egg yolks that have been whipped with sugar. The mixture is then returned to the stove just until it coats the back of a spoon and when blown on creates a "rose". Then it shocked in ice water, cooled and churned in an ice cream maker Et voila...vanilla ice cream.
At the restaurant we make vanilla ice cream to serve on top of our biengnets. The base is 3 quarts of cream to 3 quarts of milk, to eight vanilla beans; heated and then tempered into 60 egg yolks and 10 cups of sugar. We churn it in Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice-Cream Maker, White (three of them). It's a pretty nifty little machine, so nifty in fact that I just bought one the other weekend. So far I've used it to make strawberry ice cream, but I think today I'm going to try sorbet with some frozen fruit we have laying about in the freezer.
Given how easy it is to make ice cream I was really surprised to find that Flip, a Richard Blais restaurant here in town, doesn't make it's own. Flip is one of these trendy burger joints that is known for things like it's ossobucco burger and Foie Gras milkshake. A milkshake that is made with Blue Bonnet Ice Cream, it seems a bit criminal doesn't it? I know I shouldn't judge, I mean I'm just a culinary student. It just seems that if you are going to charge $10 for a milkshake, and go through the creative process of doing flavors like White Truffle and Pistachio, or Foie Gras then you should use an ice cream base that doesn't come from a commercial factory...or at least something I can't buy at the local Walmart.
I suppose though, most people don't care if their overpriced milkshake contains Blue Bonnet or not. Flip is the sort of place where it seems people aren't going for the food, but merely because it is the hip place to be seen eating. It is just a tad disheartening is all, to someone who wants to be a pastry chef. Restaurants that use commercially produced crappy ice cream, bakery's like Edgar's or Olexa's that use cake mix instead of baking their own, and a convention center that doesn't employ a pastry chef at all, but rather buys it's desserts frozen from the local restaurant supplier.
When did we become so complacent about the food when put into our mouths? About the food we serve other people? If someone is paying upwards of five dollars a slice for a wedding cake then don't they deserve to be wow'ed by something made from scratch? I know, I know overhead is expensive and this is done to keep costs low. The restaurant business is just that...a business. *sigh*
Maybe one of these days I'll have the same outlook, maybe one day I won't, only time will tell. In the mean time I won't be going back to Flip for a milkshake, and I will be making my ice cream at home.