Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fried Ice Cream

I love to eat Fried Ice Cream. The first time I tried it was 21 years ago at a Mexican restaurant in Winston-Salem, NC. It was the real thing with a crispy fried honey-drizzled crust covering a center of cool, creamy vanilla ice cream. I've ordered the dish many times since then, and sometimes I've been served a ball of ice cream rolled in corn flakes. This "shortcut version" wasn't bad, but it was a treat to find a place that served Fried Ice Cream that was actually FRIED.

The finished product!
The last time I ordered Fried Ice Cream, as I shoveled each delectable spoonful in my mouth, I thought "How hard could it be to make this?" There had to be a recipe somewhere that I could try and everyone in the family loves to eat it so why not try to make it at home? That evening I searched and immediately came across an Emeril Lagasse recipe on With a 5-star rating and 21 reviews, I knew this would probably be a safe recipe to try.

I wanted to try this recipe before the "Pickles" came back from their cross country road trip with their Grandmom and Grandpop. They were already in Mississippi and I was running out of time. I thought if the recipe was a success, it would be a wonderful surprise for them one night. If the recipe bombed, they wouldn't know what they were missing.

There is a lot of freezing time involved in the process so this was definitely not a last minute dessert (though I suppose you could have the ice cream balls coated and frozen ahead of time to save time at a later date).
First, I made my crumb coating. The recipe says you can use crushed frosted flakes and a combination of coconut flakes, chopped walnuts and crushed cookies. Many people suggested vanilla wafers. I used frosted flakes, graham crackers and animal crackers (I had the animal crackers on hand and didn't want to have to go buy cookies).

The next step was making the ice cream balls I placed large scoops of vanilla ice cream in bowls lined with saran wrap. Gathering up the ends of the plastic, I was able to squish the ice cream into solid balls. The recipe says to freeze the ice cream for 2 hours at this point but one reviewer stated it was easier to get the first crust coating applied while the ice cream was still a bit soft from forming them into balls. So I applied my first coating and froze the balls for 2 hours.

The ice cream balls were frozen solid when I pulled them out of the freezer for their first egg wash. I used a tapered bowl for the egg which made it relatively easy to coat the ice cream balls in the wash. Still, it was a bit messy coating the balls again in the crumb coating (but I've never been able to coat anything without making somewhat of a mess). The ice cream balls went back to the freezer for another hour.

I have to admit I was worried I'd wind up with melted ice cream floating in hot oil, but with so many reviewers having had success, my fears subsided a bit. I did coat the ice cream with a third layer of crust coating just in case.

Although the recipe states to cook the ice cream balls in hot oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, many reviewers said 15 seconds was PLENTY of time. Although I know Emeril Lagasse is a great cook, I usually go with what the reviewers say. But 15 seconds didn't seem to do anything to these. In fact, the ice cream balls, cooked one at a time, were actually in the hot oil for about 45 seconds to one minute. Still, though they did cook, they weren't crunchy as I had hoped.

I drained the finished ice cream balls over a paper towel, placed them in dishes, drizzled them with honey, sprinkled them with cinnamon and garnished with whipped cream and a cherry. They were delicious! As I mentioned, I had hoped for a crispy crust, but other than that, these tasted like the real thing. I remembered why we always split one in the restaurants, too. They were so rich and sweet that I think next time I'll leave off the honey.

Additional Notes:
  • I did consider trying Honey Bunches of Oats cereal instead of the frosted flakes and cappuccino wafers instead of vanilla wafers. I think either substitution would be yummy so it's something I'll probably experiment with later.
  • It's possible the graham crackers are the culprit as far as keeping the crust from becoming crispy. I found another recipe that used graham cracker crumbs and a big reviewer complaint was the non-crispy crust. I'll leave them out next time.

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