I love to complain on this blog, but I feel like I have not been complaining enough lately. It is not for lack of things to complain about; one need only look at the newspaper headlines to see for sure. When everything is going to shit out there, I suppose it’s best to keep things buzzing in harmony in the places over which I exert complete control, ie. this blog.
So the one thing I will say is that foie gras burgers ruin both foie gras and burgers, a duo that, when left to their own devices, can shine, but when combined, serve to ultimately cancel each other out (also see: tempura-fried sushi. I like tempura? I like sushi? Why do that to tempura and to sushi?)
I used to feel the same way about ice cream served in a hot dog bun, the ice cream sandwich in its most literal embodiment. This is something that I did not grow up with in the States, where we had ice cream on waffle cones or in cups like the ice cream gods intended.
I did not know then that the ice cream gods were Chinese gourmands who, in 200 BC, mixed milk and rice and froze it, creating the world’s first rudimentary scoops. It is Marco Polo who is credited with bringing those ice cream recipes back home to Italy where they took on entirely new flavors. I’m not sure when ice cream reached the blessed shores of Siam, but I can say that the iterations that have seized hold of menus here are just as delicious, if not more so, than anything I have tasted in the gelato parlors of Europe.
However, I must say that I’ve had a problem in the past with the combo of ice cream + soft bun. This is because they are essentially the same to me: comfort + comfort, as opposed to ice cream + cone (comfort + hollow crunch) or even Western ice cream sandwich (comfort + less delicious comfort). I realize now that I think this because of my colonized mind, and that ice cream + soft bun is a genius flavor combo, especially if that bun is soft, sweet and salted all at once like a Hawaiian bread roll or hunk of Portuguese sweet bread. If a smudge of sticky rice can be found underneath your scoop like a cat hiding underneath the bed after he’s shredded all your toilet paper, all the better. Scatter some roasted peanuts on top right before you’re ready to dig in and you’ve got it made.
If you’re in Bangkok, these sweet buns can be found in traditional Thai bakeries like the “butter bun” at Patum Cake or, of course, at S&P. Villa Market sells a nice soft sweet-and-salted bun made from a company named LA Bakery. But when I had this ice cream made at home, my overachieving friend Chris made both the ice cream and his Hawaiian-style buns (pictured up top) from scratch. The following ice cream recipe is his — thank you Chris! Chris has plenty of other great recipes on his own blog christao.net.
For 6 people
Prep time: 10 hours (including freezing time), 1 hour active prep
– 500 ml coconut milk (canned)
– 2 heaping tsp cornstarch
– 75 g sugar
– 3/4 tsp salt
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 6 sweet dinner rolls or hot dog buns
– roasted peanuts (garnish)
– sticky rice (optional)
– coconut milk (optional)
Separate out 1/2 coconut milk in order to make a slurry with cornstarch. Mix remaining coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla in saucepan and heat over medium heat (do not bring it to a boil). Take off heat and add cornstarch slurry. Stir until thickened (it only gets thickened slightly). Cool to room temperature. Put in airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours. Take out, break into chunks, and put into blender. Blend to the consistency of a milkshake, then put back into freezer for another 6 hours or until firm. Serve with sweet dinner rolls or hot dog buns, preferably topped with roasted peanuts. You can also serve on top of sticky rice, or on top of sticky rice inside the bun. Drizzle with coconut milk if you wish.