May 31, 2007

Learn! Laugh! Eat!

[Compared to cream, milk makes] the Kate Moss of ice cream. Sure, she's pretty... but not terribly satisfying.
-Shuna Fish Lydon

I *knew* there was a reason I liked this woman!

In a month full of work challenges and square dance event planning, your heroine needed a break. Thankfully, her personal hero was happy to oblige; he offered to fly solo at the last of the planning meetings so she and Tracy could escape into an afternoon of ice cream.

Off we headed to Poulet to relax, unwind, and learn the secrets behind perfect creme anglaise one-handed quenelles, and mind-blowing ice cream flavor combinations.

Shuna's classes offer an excellent balance of lecture and demonstration, sharing the "why" in addition to the "how," "when," and "what." Her ice cream lecture explained each of the key ingredients in an ice cream base and the roles they play: Egg yolks provide a rich mouth feel and act as stabilizers. Sugar aids in flavor infusion by increasing the temperature of the liquid, provides additional sweetness and lowers the freezing temperature of the final product. Milk and cream contain butterfats critical to flavor absorption; Shuna insists that for full flavor, full-fat is critical.

Moving into the kitchen, Shuna shared tips, tricks and stories from her 14 years in some of America's most famous commercial kitchens. She taught us techniques for sumptuous anglaise, showing us how she steeps to infuse flavors, and providing tips for ensuring a successful nappe out of the cream/egg/sugar liaison. She offered us a simple, sensational recipe for Butterscotch; and showed us how it develops from butter and brown sugar to oh-so-much more than a sum of its parts. She encouraged several of my classmates to play with her (ice cream) balls. And she taught us the secret to silky chocolate chip ice cream that poses no danger to your dental work.

From kitchen classroom we moved to tasting, and we had quite a menu to choose from. The products of our classroom adventure included the aforementioned butterscotch sauce over Cardamom-Coconut Chocolate Chip ice cream. In addition, Shuna offered tastes of Mango Sorbet, Rose Hill Goat Yogurt Granita, Butterscotch, Lemon-Thyme, and Browned Butter Pecan Ice Creams with farmers' market fresh apriums & strawberries, chocolate sauce and pecan vanilla shortbread cookies available for garnish.

We learned a lot. We laughed often. And we ate well.

What better way to measure a Sunday afternoon?

More images, courtesy of Kat at Kung Foodie.


shuna fish lydon said...

This is fabulous indeed! You captured my humour so well and I am warmed by it! I have already linked to it. I look forward to seeing you again... Maybe in August!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun class! And all those ice creams sound delicious! mmm...