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Jul 21, 2009 08:21 AM

Fried Ice Cream?

Anyone know of a Mexican place in DC or Alexandria that does a really good fried ice cream? I know it's not authentic, and probably even offensive to real Mexican cuisine, but I have a craving for that crispy whatever-it-is coating smothered in honey and whipped cream!

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Aburkavage, I share your passion for this dessert. And, it's nearly impossible to find now. Even the places that say they have it, simply take a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream and roll it around in a mixture of crumbs and sugar. Then, the dabble a little honey on top and put whipped cream and a cherry on it.

    However, I can tell you how to make fried ice cream and it's really not as hard as you may think. It takes two days to prepare, but you can make a lot of the unfried product and just use them, at your leisure.

    First, buy a good premium quality vanilla ice cream. (Or, any flavor you want.) The key with the ice cream is to buy the dense, minimally aerated type. Then, scoop it into big balls. Use your hands and work fast. Quickly roll them around in finely crushed cornflakes. Then, put them in your freezer and freeze them until they are rock-hard.

    Second, after the ice cream balls are frozen hard take them out and quickly dunk them, one by one, in a batter made of about 2 cups of milk, 1 egg, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of all purpose flour, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. (Note: I make this batter by "feel", but the proportions are very forgiving.) Then, roll them in another coating of crushed cornflakes. Return them to the freezer and freeze the until they are rock hard.

    Third, now it's time to eat them. Heat your oil up to a very hot temperature (about 400 degrees). Your fryer/pot needs to have a lot of oil, so it does not cool down as you fry the ice cream. You need to lay out your dishes and toppings so they're ready to go. Have more of the dipping batter ready. Warn your guest that dessert is coming out and that fried ice cream waits for no one!

    Now, take out the prepared balls, one at a time, from the freezer. Quickly dunk it in the batter, and put it right into the fryer. The batter will fry up VERY quickly. If you've coated the balls properly, there will be no ice cream leakage. The first ball is usually the test dummy. It has taken me as little as 20 seconds, and as much as one minute to fry them. (Usually, you're good when the ball is golden brown.)

    Put it right into the dish, douse it with some honey, squirt it with whipped cream, and eat it immediately. (This is not a dessert to prepare for a lot of people who want to start eating at the same time.)

    The layers of cornflakes and batter create insulation from the heat. The high egg and sugar content of the batter insure a quick browning/caramelization time. I've had really good luck with this recipe.

    Good luck!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Sean D

      The first time I had fried ice cream (San Francisco, 1974), it was coated in tempura batter. I've never seen it done that way since.

      1. re: Mister Big

        I had tempura ice cream in Japan in 1970. That was around the time that the chain family Mexican restaurants (Chi-Chi's, El Torito, Casa Mia) were doing it with corn flakes in the US. It seems to have faded from the menus (as those restaurants have faded from our midst).

        1. re: MikeR

          Tempura batter is actually an excellent choice of coating. While it definitely differs from the flavor you get from the other batter/cornflake coating, it fries up very quickly. The less time you spend in the oil, the better.

          You guys have inspired me to try an experiment this weekend. It would be very cool to create a hybrid approach.

          1. re: MikeR

            Chi-Chi's version is the one that sticks out in my head as the quintessential Mexican-American fried ice cream that I crave!

            1. re: aburkavage

              Me, too. I prefer the crusty, cinnamon-like shell. However, I've known people who think that the traditional shell is too overpowering. I've never used the tempura batter as a shell. I'm curious to see what it would be like.

              The recipe I gave is definitely in the ChiChi's tradition.

              1. re: Sean D

                Yeah, the recipe sounds great - thanks! I'll definitely give it a try in the not-too-distant future.

            2. re: MikeR

              i had tempura fried ice cream at a japanese restaurant in herndon. it was in the shopping center with the clock. I think it was Matsuri.

              Matsuri Sushi & Sake Bar
              150 Elden St, Herndon, VA 20170

          1. re: skipper

            Skipper, is this the real thing? (By that, I mean they actually fry it to order and bring it out to you immediately?) If so, I'll be heading to Guapos in Bethesda for dinner tonight!

            1. re: Sean D

              All I know is that it is on the menu as fried ice cream and that my son really likes it.


              1. re: skipper

                That's all the convincing I need. It's Guapo's tonight! Thanks Skipper!

                  1. re: aburkavage

                    Reporting back! It was very good, but it wasn't real fried ice cream. It was a ball of ice cream that had been rolled around in some very tasty mixture of crumbs, sugar, and spices. (In other words, the usual thing that most Mexican chain restaurants serve.) Very yummy and worth the price, but not the same as the ChiChi's dessert. Sorry.

                    1. re: Sean D

                      So much for getting my hopes up! I'm only in DC for a few more weeks, but I'll try Los Tios and report back. The dessert of our memory has to exist somewhere!

                      1. re: aburkavage

                        If you find yourself in Europe, or various Middle East countries, it looks like they may still exist over there. I'm sure there were only a couple cases of Hepititis attributed to them anyway. Plus, the odds of it being from their fried ice cream are even smaller!

          2. I see that Los Tios in Del Rey has fried ice cream on their menu. Has anyone tried it?

            1. It's not DC or Alexandria, but I got very excited to see fried ice cream on the menu at Arcos in Baltimore and unfortunately, it sucked! Tasked like crappy ice cream rolled in corn flakes (which were terribly burnt by the time all the alcohol flamed off) doused in something which tasted like gasoline. The texture and taste were all wrong!

              The search continues!