Friday, July 30, 2010

Tiger, tiger, burning bright/In the forests of the night

Tiger tail ice cream is my very favorite.

It's a very creamy orange ice cream base, with a black licorice ripple. It is an unusual flavour combination, but it works way more harmoniously than it sounds like it ought to. Baskin Robbin, conveniently located 3 blocks away from my parent's house in Montreal, used to make a delicious one, but doesn't seem to offer it anymore, and most commercial brands available in my neck of the woods pale in comparison.

I'm told that President's Choice released the flavour this summer as part of a 'nostalgia' collection (including pink bubble gum.... is it weird that the choking hazards of my youth are now retro, or nostalgic? Am I right to feel old?) In any event, I don't have access to PC products at the grocery store in my 'hood. So I made my own.

I made an ice cream base that tasted like orange creamsicle, rather than super citrusy orange- I wanted more of a muted sherbet flavour, and less of a bright and citrusy one. To keep it light, I made it 'Philadelphia' style, rather than with a custard base, I used both orange juice and zest for a nice, full flavour, only 18% table cream, rather than 35% heavy cream for a lighter mouth-feel, and some sour cream, to keep it zippy. The resulting ice cream was delightful; it had a really natural orange flavour, and would be amazing on its own.

The licorice ripple was a little more challenging for me, and I ate a lot of different kinds of black licorice to find the one I wanted to work with (poor me, right?). I settled on 'Panda' brand soft licorice candies, as the flavour was strong and true, and not that sweet. I melted them on my stovetop, and used a heavy simple syrup (1:1 water to sugar) to let it out, which is why I had been looking for a less-sweet candy. I couldn't melt it smooth enough, so I put it through my food processor.

This was unfortunate for two reasons: while the resulting texture was perfectly smooth and thick and sticky, it changed the colour from black to brown, which I wasn't hoping for, and by some food processor magic, it really emphazised the molasses flavour in the candy, also unintended. If I had had the resources at my fingertips, I would have rebalanced the flavour with some aniseed oil or licorice powder.

Once the orange ice cream was churned, I alternated scooping it into a container with drizzles of the licorice ripple. I let it set in the freezer, and then sampled it. It was delicious, almost 100% what I wanted, but it would have been better if the ripple was a stronger licorice flavour- the molasses notes that came out during the food processing of the licorice were not enough of a contrast to the orange.

Another thing, and I'm almost ashamed to admit it, is that the colour of the orange ice cream tasted off. I'm so used to bright, artificially coloured orange ice cream in a Tiger Tail, so conditioned by industrial food production to expect that anything orange flavoured from a popsicle to a soda should be Orange with a capital 'O'. My pale yellow, naturally coloured and flavoured orange ice cream tasted like the wrong colour.
First of all, colours don't have flavour, and second of all, maybe next time, in addition to boosting the licorice ripple, I will add some food colouring to the orange ice cream. How stupid is that?

PS: This is the best time of year to live in southeastern Ontario. There are peaches, flowers from right outside that look like they come from the tropics, corn, blueberries, and in short order, tomatoes. Have a nice long weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Next time try it without the licorice. Guaranteed to be "out of this world" delicious.