How to Nail Deep-Fried Ice-Cream

Originally published on SBS.

For many of us growing up, the final course at a Chinese restaurant would be the one kids (and adults, who are we kidding?) bounce in their seats for.

However, the science of deep-fried ice-cream, like how it doesn’t completely disintegrate when it’s submerged in scorching hot oil, doesn’t have to be a mystery. Two ice-cream connoisseurs share their tips with SBS Food, so you can easily replicate this much-loved dessert at home.

Marion Grasby, chef and co-host of Wok Vs Pot, would often pester her mum to make deep-fried ice cream as a kid. She shares her own recipe on the show that’s “beautiful and crispy and coconut-y on the outside, and melty, soft ice-cream on the inside”.

Grasby begins by buying a dense, store-bought cake (as opposed to one that is super fresh) and rolls it out flat.

“You wanna keep your ice-cream in the freezer until just the last second,” says Grasby. She places a scoop of ice-cream onto a section of the rolled out cake and simply covers the ice-cream in it, packing it tightly. The ice-cream balls go into the freezer for at least four hours, but keeping them in overnight is best.

After this, Grasby takes the ice-cream out and coats it in some whisked egg and fine desiccated coconut, which “gives it a really lovely perfume, without being too chunky”.

The ice-cream is once again returned to the freezer. “This is the most important freezing time. You really need to give these at least eight hours or overnight in the freezer.”

To deep fry it, Grasby heats a saucepan with oil (10 centimetres deep) to 180°C. All it takes is two minutes for the ice-cream balls to cook. Head here to see Grasby’s full deep-fried ice-cream with coconut butterscotch sauce recipe.

Sydney ice creamery Duo Duo is renowned for its deep-fried ice-cream and has ice-cream trucks in Strathfield and Cabramatta. Founders Chris and Dylan Duong – who aren’t related contrary to common belief, but instead great mates – wanted to offer deep-fried ice-cream that didn’t use supermarket ice-cream like many restaurants.

“It was the best thing to eat as a child.”

Chris and Dylan explain their concept is about nostalgia. Chris says, “Memories of when we used to go to Chinese restaurants on the weekend with our families and get treated with a glorious deep-fried ball of ice-cream after our meal.

“Even though it was a regular supermarket ice-cream and Ice Magic chocolate topping, it was the best thing to eat as a child.”

He adds that the key is for the ice-cream itself to be “freezing cold and the oil super-hot. Your aim is to cook the ice-cream as quickly as possible in the oil so that it doesn’t turn to soup”.

“Another key to success is having the right thickness for the coating. It’s a fine line between having the perfect crispy layer that is enough to prevent melting, versus having a layer that is too thick and leaves you with a sickening mouth feel.”

Recently, Duo Duo has been delivering its deep-fried ice-cream balls to people’s homes. “They take under two minutes to prepare at home. A great way to impress your mates or your loved ones the next time you host dinner.”

Flavours include vanilla bean, pandan coconut, Earl Grey milk tea, black sesame and cookies, and taro.

Image: courtesy of SBS Food.

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