I don’t mean to brag but, I think this is my crowning achievement in at-home-cookery that I have achieved as of yet. I’ve done the impossible, seen the invisible (Row, row, fight the powah) I have harnessed the crisp texture of hot tempura batter and the luscious, cold delight of vanilla ice cream and have transmuted these two opposing forces into one celestial being.
To my dear readers here at Moar Powah, I present to you the secrets of making tempura ice cream at home:
Okay so for those of you who aren’t aware, there is nothing quite as grand as a good plate of deep-fried, tempura-battered ice cream to top off your dinner with something that looks complicated to make, but is actually deceptively easy. I kid you not. Trust me on this; I was worried, oh so worried that this dish wouldn’t pull through, but it came together and is just all around awesome!
Now, the origins of fried ice cream is up to debate it seems, but I can say with certainty that it seems to be a thing for (Americanized) Japanese hibachi restaurants and well, just about any place that at least boasts Japanese inspired foods. The big deal about tempura ice cream is that almost mind-boggling contrast; after all, how do you deep fry ice cream without it melting?
Look no further than this recipe and all will be revealed, my young padawan.
For the ice-cream ball
3-4 thin slice of pound cake, vanilla flavor; I recommend pound cake because it’s pretty thick, pretty mild in taste, and just holds up better to the fryer than say chiffon or angel food cake. Also it’s widely available, although I’d recommend picking up pound cake you’d be happy to eat on its own to ensure quality!
1-2 heaping scoops of your favorite ice cream; softened. Typical flavors are vanilla and green tea, but if you’d like to walk on the wild side, I’d say try just about anything
Okay so, first thing we need to tackle is to shape our ice cream balls or well… In this case our ice cream loaf. (Cause I rolled it wrong, like a nooblet)
Start by setting up some plastic wrap onto a cutting board, then lay out your pound cake slices like so; generally you should have two in the middle, and then one or two on each side, so you make a cross pattern. In theory this way will make it easier for the cake to wrap around the ice cream, and thus we reveal one of many tempura ice cream secrets: The perfect “crust” is made by this pound cake layer that fries up nicely and protects the ice cream from melting in the oil! Thus, we have that nice, sweet cakey crust on the outside and the still-cold ice cream protected on the inside.
Set your ice cream scoops in the middle of your pound cake, and then proceed to uh, shape or roll the pound cake around the ice cream to either form a tight ball, or a tight loaf/log/deformed snake. The key here is to keep everything secure and tight so that when the ice cream ball rests in the freezer it will hold a nice shape; don’t worry if some ice cream escapes, as long as more than 95% of the pound cake covers the ice cream you will be fine.
Wrap up the plastic wrap around your ice cream pound cake combination, and then wrap it up in another layer (or two) of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn, and then store in the freezer.
Note that you should let your ice cream rest in the freezer for at least one day in advance, so plan accordingly. The longer you let it rest in the freezer, the stronger its form and less likely it will disintegrate while frying!
The next day, get ready for frying! I recommend getting a good, heavy bottomed frying pot with at least 2 inches of oil; you’ll want to heat up the oil to about 300 degrees (Or, you can be like me and just let the oil warm up for ten minutes or so, and do a batter test — when a drop of batter sinks down, then bobs back up nicely puffed its ready!)
Anyway, once your oil is hot and you are READY to fry, go and immediately make your tempura batter. Tempura is usually made in small batches, so timing is of the essence! I don’t recommend making a large batch and then letting it sit and wait, only make what you need/what you know you’ll use for this recipe.
Also, temperature for the tempura batter is key to a successful light and flaky crust, you want to make sure the water you’re using is very cold to prevent the gluten in the flour from heating up and creating an ugly doughy mess; so don’t hesitate to use that water bottle sitting in the fridge, and don’t hesitate to add some extra ice cubes (It’ll be better for your batter, trust me)
For the tempura batter
1 cup of ice, cold water, preferably with ice cubes included.
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
With your oil nice and ready quickly beat one egg, then add the water, stirring to combine. Immediately add the flour and cornstarch and mix rapidly; DO NOT TRY TO MAKE A SMOOTH BATTER. Lumps are good for this recipe, trust me.
Once your cold, lumpy batter is ready and your oil is hot, take out your ice cream from the freezer, coat it up and then set it down into the oil. Now you’re going to just let this brown up, it should take approximately 20 to 30 seconds on each side; make sure you don’t burn your ice cream and, once ready, fish it out and onto a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
THEN, remove onto a cutting board, and cut quickly into sections and (attempt to) plate!
And now, you have probably one of the most ingenious, impressive, but simple desserts out there. Show off to your friends and family that you’ve done the impossible, you’ve fried ice cream like a boss, and indulge in that sweet contrast between hot and cold, rolled all up into one delicious delight. (I’ll have you know I was so happy and I happily food coma’d after gorging upon it)
😀 Soooooo tune in next week for another exciting addition of Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them! (Where we’ll be going in the food world, no one knows~)