Spice up the summer ice cream game like a pastry chef

If you’re visiting my house any night, you’ll likely find at least one of the following ice cream flavors in my freezer: mint, pistachio, or chocolate chips. I have yet to hear complaints from the company when an unadorned scoop or two popped up to finish their meal. But we can all stand for tulips to go now and then. Georgia Wooder, executive pastry chef at Mel’s, Al Coro, and upcoming Discolo in New York, assures me that bougie ice cream is possible with just a few pantry toppings—many delicious shelves, no less.

“I go for most sides of dessert and gelato with delicious olive oil and good sea salt,” says Wodder, wrapping up Mel’s list of fine pizzerias, which opened in March as part of Chef Melissa’s. Bringing Rodriguez’s concept back to the previous del Posto. “I think gelato is about its different ingredients — texture and crunch, making sure the flavors are balanced.”

Related: This addictive soft ice cream contains only three ingredients, one of which is optional

At the restaurant, Wodder’s salted caramel cascades over fior di latte gelato and tops it with dried crêpe toffee and cinnamon butter cookies. You roll frozen strawberry sorbet chunks and fresh strawberry chunks into a vanilla gelato, to remake your strawberry cake into a sundae. She tops a slice of fudge with a creamy scoop of chocolate-coated mint chip ice cream, which she coats in a hard crust made of dark chocolate and olive oil and then sprinkled with dried brownie crumbs.

Happy Shell sauce is as easy to make at home as a quick fudge sauce by the way, and Boujeer is undoubtedly; “Because it’s chocolate and oily, it makes a magical crust when you hit it with cold ice cream,” she says.

Simply crumble the darkest bar of chocolate you can find (70 to 80% cocoa), and put it in the microwave in 30-second increments until melted. Whisking the chocolate constantly, pour in an equal amount (by weight in ounces) of your final best olive oil. Keep whisking until smooth, then season with a little salt to taste. Just before serving, pour the sauce over the ice cream and enjoy the magic of food science.

Up your sundae game (Peter Marquez)Wodder’s brownie pie is simpler, requiring little more than leftover brownies or brownie scraps. Put on a tray, bake until cooked in a 275 degree oven and break into crumbs.

On the other hand, where our resident pastry chef might garnish ice cream with homemade semolina bread (as you do with rhubarb and ginger mousse), we can easily imitate the flavors of buttery sweet corn by crumbling up some store-bought toasted cornbread. Raspberry or dulce de leche ice cream.

“It gives off a bit of butteriness and contrasts the texture with the silky gelato—just makes it fun,” she says. “You always want to make sure you have enough crunch in there.”

When it comes to fruit blends and ice cream toppings—especially as we enter the peak season of berries and stone fruit—Wodder always prefers fresh fruit puree. While frozen fruit lends an icy, chalky texture, and compote or preservatives are a little too sweet, the sweetness of mashed fresh fruit mitigates the natural acidity—which is often clashed with a lemon squeeze.

A sweet sundae made with red fruit is also a perfect place to consider a drizzle or two of Wodder’s other delicious treat: balsamic vinegar. She adds, “I really like it on fior di latte or plain vanilla too, just a touch to add sweetness and extra interest.”

Think Like a Banquet Chef – Put your advantage in place like crumbs and mashed into bowls and cut cakes and cake plates in advance if you plan to put them on the bottom. Most importantly, if you’re hosting a crowd and don’t want to serve soup, do the gelato in advance. Put a plate or tray lined with paper in the freezer for 20 or 30 minutes – “Make sure it’s frozen!” Then put the ice cream directly on the parchment paper (so you can easily pluck it), and leave it frozen until serving.

Wodder likes to paint sundaes in smaller bowls for maximum effect; “This way, people can also take seconds without feeling bad about it,” she adds.

If crumbled at the end of all the cookies, the luxurious drizzle of oil and the flakiness of sea salt still has something missing, Wodder has another trick up her sleeve. “I would absolutely not eat ice cream without a rainbow sprinkle,” she says.

Although in this case, she has no interest in the boogie genre. “The cheaper, the cardboard, the better. The cute ones are really tough; I love the ones that have been on the shelf for 10 years at ShopRite.”

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