Molecular Gastronomy Hot Ice Cream (+ Hot-Buttered Drinks!)

posted in: Cooking, Sweet | 41

This post is going to be a tricky Technicolor dreamcoat to weave. I have a lot to say and I somehow have to tie it all up in a hot ice cream bundle and deliver it to your eyes in a sort of cornucopia fashion since it’s Thanksgiving. You are scratching yourself wondering what hot ice cream has to do with Thanksgiving, no doubt. Well considering the fact that it is currently 26°F and snowing in generally temperate Seattle, if I’m going to be eating any ice cream, it’s going to be hot. Hot like your short-shorts-clad bootay on pleather car seats in August in Texas.  If that’s not a good enough justification for making hot ice cream in November, I don’t know what is.

First of all- What the HELL is hot ice cream? Well, bitches, I’m going all molecular on your asses again, yes I am.  Hot ice cream is a fucking cool concept that the folks over at Ideas in Food came up with, near as I can tell. They make theirs with cream cheese, but I wanted to substitute mascarpone because I wanted the dish to be a take-off of the traditional Italian dessert- affogato. Affogato literally means “drowned” in Italian, and consists of a scoop of gelato that is drenched in hot espresso. I figured affogato would be the perfect way to serve hot ice cream, simply by inverting the two ingredients, aka hot ice cream and cold coffee.

The magic molecular ingredient that makes hot ice cream possible is called methylcellulose. It is a vegetable-derived chemical compound that has the intriguing property of being a thermo-reversible gelling agent. What that means is that unlike the gelling agent you are perhaps most familiar with- gelatin- methylcellulose sets as it gets hot. Gelatin, as you know, sets upon cooling. If you are like me, reading this paragraph had undoubtedly catapulted your brain into a deep mineshaft of endless crystalline possibilities. Stay with me for a moment, while we indulge in mine.

The ice cream was straightforward enough, but I spiced it up by adding butter, because, you know, straight mascarpone couldn’t possibly be creamy enough, right? But the real trick, the real trick indeed, was turning this into an affogato corretto- that means “drowned corrected.” If you didn’t get it from the connotation, Italians believe that to “correct” something means to add booze to it. Let’s call that reason #4269 why I LOVE that heady land. So I corrected the error of my sober ways by tossing in a hefty shot of Ron Anejo  Aniversario and lo! Suddenly this classicly warped affogato became not only a reverse dessert, but also a hot-buttered rum! Can somebody get me a mensa application, please?

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to segue gently from hot ice cream toddies to what I really want to say in this post, but there is no subtle transition, unless you’re drunk from said toddy, in which case life in general will be one giant subtle transition (#notaeuphemism). Thanksgiving. It’s a time of year to engorge, play couch calisthenics, and surround yourself with the ones you love. It’s also the time of year when most folks go around the table and share tales of why they are thankful. This year I have been thinking more about this than ever before because I have many reasons to give thanks.

I have so many reasons, in fact, that I cannot help but think of the innumerable souls out there who have less. This year doing my part means gathering warm clothes, blankets, socks, and bringing them to the shelter. It means putting my money where my mouth is as much as possible. It means not forgetting that people fall upon hard times 365 days a year, not just during the soup-kitchen glory days when it’s fashionable to don a ladle and a pious smile.

It also means thanking you for taking this journey with me and giving me support when I feel down. After more than a year having a blog and immersing myself into the milieu of social media, I have realized that in a way I am on constant public display. Random people in coffee shops stop me and ask where to get cheese curd or if they can try some of my salt. Lasting friendships are formed on the strength of watching someone perfect the art of the macaron over several months.

We champion each other to strive for big opportunities and console one another when our dreams are temporarily dashed. What I am trying to say is thank you, community, for showing me that this world is truly my home more than any physical address ever could be. My slice of hyperspace is brimming with great things, and in large part it’s due to you. Thank you for still liking me while I geek out, do insane things, wax on about fruity protuberances, and frequently fail. Happy Thanksgiving, world. Love, Linda

Hot Mascarpone Butter Ice Cream

Takes 15 minutes active time plus overnight to set, makes 10 affogatos

  • 200 grams mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 50 grams quality butter, softened
  • 100 grams sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Seeds from ½ vanilla bean ( I like the Tahitians from Marx Foods)
  • 120 grams water
  • 20 grams methylcellulose (note: I use methylcel from Different methylcel’s have slightly different properties, and you may find with other brands you have to use more or less in order to achieve the right level of gelling.)

  1. 1. Using an immersion blender, mix the mascarpone, butter, sugar and salt until just blended. (do not aerate too much or mixture will separate)
  2. 2. Place the vanilla bean and water in a small saucepan and bring to simmer.
  3. 3. Whisk in the methylcellulose until incorporated.
  4. 4. Drizzle the methylcellulose water into the cream mixture and blend until just combined.
  5. 5. Place in the refrigerator in a sealed container overnight.
  6. 6. The next morning, bring a saucepan of water to a low simmer. Using an ice cream scoop or a small ladle, gently nestle scoops of the cream mixture into the water. For the first minute, keep the cream in the ladle, since this is when the shape is setting. After a minute, gently dislodge the scoops and allow them to continue to set in the gently boiling water for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. 7. Serve scoops in a cup with iced espresso and rum poured over.
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41 Responses

  1. Kaylana

    Friends and Family members thought of this idea as odd and most likely impossible – and yet, 6 months later, after finally doing a google search to see if anyone else have ever thought of the same idea…I find this. Thank You! And I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  2. […] Hot Ice Cream (from Salty Seattle) […]

  3. Hi!! Amazing post! I have an imporrant question. I went to the Willpowder website and they have 5 Different kinds of methycelulose. They change in how firm they set. Which one exactly did you used in your hot ice cream. Please let me know. I need it ASAP. Thanks in advance and I am a big fan of yours!!! Agu

    Linda Reply:

    @agu, It’s quite a world to navigate- all those different methylcel’s. For this I used A15C. Also, I’ve been tweaking my ratios recently- I am really liking: 130g mascarpone, 32.5 g butter, 65 g sugar, 13 g methylcel, & 78 g purified water. Hope all this helps! cheers, L

  4. I just followed a link from Foodbuzz to this post. This was my first encounter with your site and I want to say that it is the most engaging, entertaining and personable blog I have discovered in a very long time. And that commendation just covers your prose. Hot ice cream sounds phenomenal! I would not normally eat ice cream, but I think I will make an exception in this instance. For one brief moment I will be able to see Grant Achatz’s life from the inside. Thank you!

    Linda Reply:

    @Jon, What a kind comment, I really appreciate it, thank you so much and hope to see you back for more. xo, salty

  5. I am not much of a science girl Linda, but love your take on making the icy treat stay alive in coffee. I remember growing up in Armenia, they had cafes all over the place and this is one thing that I would look forward to when I parents took as out. They would put a scoop of vanilla ice cream and top it with espresso type Armenian dark coffee… the only problem is that it melts… but it’s still so so good.

  6. I know a few gents who would be all over this recipe if they saw it. They would love the gastronomy part. Me? I say it looks yummy!!

  7. OMG. I lost all confidence regarding tricky MG cooking after reading about so many epic fails on alineamosaic (Grant Achatz’s forum)

    But….I’m not sure why but have just inched my confidence up a notch, I think I may actually order methylcellulose and give it a shot. It will be a life changing milestone if it actually works!

  8. …and thanks-giving to u2, salty. I’m thankful to have discovered you and your blog this year, and keep coming here for amazing inspiration!!!

    Linda Reply:

    @Amelia from Z Tasty Life, you’re so lovely, thank you from the bottom of my sous vided heart:)

  9. @Omeghan

    Aw, maybe you should stick with Sesame Street so you don’t see any words that burn your poor, delicate eyes.

  10. OMG this is fucking fantastic. I need to make this.

  11. I’m leaving the molecular gastronomy to you lady, although this does look tempting. Well said on the reasons to be thankful and as for some of the commentary above – I’ll take an R-rated authentic you over a pale G rated imitation any day ;)Look forward to cocktails Mon. Cheers, Sarah

  12. Damn you, your clever pros and culinary hijinks may just have me stocking my pantry with mysterious powders very soon. At least I know what to keep them in!

  13. We need more, like you. :-)

  14. This post was ok. It would have been better served with 4 more fucks and at least one cock sucker.

  15. Rita Miller

    Lovely, however, would it be possible to omit the words “fucking” and “what the HELL”

  16. well…. i thought this looked good on FoodBuzz Nov 26th….
    So I investigated and read along….however..
    I lost 100% interest with your F word ….

    If you require the F’s to make your blog more interesting…
    perhaps it’s not worth my while.

  17. Amazing! How do you do that? I love ice-cream and I’m always experimenting with new ways of making it – this feels like a very extincting way of having ice-cream.

  18. Right back atcha, girlfriend. GREG

  19. I’m dazzled!

  20. You are beyond creative. The mind boggles every time I read one of your posts.

  21. great post! I love affogato but i think this looks much better and creamier… well done!

  22. I really enjoy reading your posts. Please include me in your journey!

  23. Complicated! We’ll leave the molecular gastronomy to you. But if we’re in Seattle soon, hopefully you’ll make this.

  24. Epic. This is one for the books.

  25. Now you have done it! I will not sleep well if I haven’t tried making this!

  26. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katie G, Linda M Nicholson. Linda M Nicholson said: Molecular Gastronomy Makes HOT Ice Cream Possible!!! Check it: […]

  27. You are one crazy, sexy bitch Linda. Kudos for all you do and share. I love every post more and more and this looks right up my alley. I’ve said before I’m not a big fan of molecular gastronomy, but you have a way madam…a strange, nerdy, compelling way…

  28. Unfreaking believable. I love this more than you know! I screw with my students on a regular basis when we talk about fried ice cream. This would just totally screw with them!

  29. Snowing in Seattle? How can that be? It’s been like 60 here in NY the last few days. Anyway, I just adore you (and your hot ice cream). Happy Tday, my friend.

  30. It was 28 out on my deck this morning and here I am baking sugar cookies??? I need to get some of this meth gel and get cookin’ It sounds amazing..perhaps something I could do with chenna cheese, flaming gulab jamuns perhaps.Have a great Thanksgiving I’ve really enjoyed reading and getting to know you this year.

  31. It is really cold here in the Bay Area the last several days. I was JUST saying to my husband that we should make hot toddies and then I popped on food buzz and saw your post. Love the creativity and I bet it was delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  32. Linda, your ideas are always amazing. Have you watched the Harvard molecular gastronomy lectures? You might find a few of them interesting if you haven’t already seen them.

    I love how you wrote that friendships are formed over months of watching a blogger perfect some process. That is spot on! I have only been in the ‘sphere for a few months, but am starting to feel that warm support a bit. It’s a great place, virtually speaking.

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for inspiring us with each successive post!


  33. Salute mi bellissima amica… have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

  34. You know, every time I eat ice cream I always complain “it’s too cold!” because it bothers my teeth and everybody makes fun of me as if I were a kid and reply “duh, it’s ice cream! it’s supposed to be very cold!” Next time somebody says that to me I’ll tell them first, to go to hell :) and second, to go and check out this post! This is really fucking cool!

  35. You just blew my mindgrape. And very possibly sunk my battleship. Happy Thanksgiving, my darling food diva!

    Linda Reply:

    @wasabi prime, awww, you so sweet, xoxo.

  36. Linda. Thank YOU for being you. We wouldn’t have it any other way. My life is definitely richer for having you in it and I am honoured to call you my friend. Now enough of all that and just send me some of that damned hot icecream, will ya?!

    Linda Reply:

    @Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite, I bet it would travel ok, actually:)

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