Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mexican Fried Ice Cream. Seriously!

What's up with the deep-fried-everything craze? Deep fried twinkies? Deep fried Ding Dongs? Deep fried cookie dough, for cryin' out loud??? Have we all lost our minds?

And here I am giving you a recipe for deep fried ice cream. Am I nuts? Well, hold on to your horses, because deep fried ice cream has been a staple of restaurants in Mexico for a very long time, and it's really really good and quite simple to make at home, too. If you've enjoyed it already you know what I'm talking about. If not, you're in for a delightful surprise.

Mexicans usually use vanilla ice cream for this dish, though any flavor can be used, and drizzle the finished product with a little honey or chocolate before topping it off with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Often, it is served on top of a flour tortilla which has been formed into a fancy shape, fried until crispy and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. I'm not going to get into that here, though you are free to try it.

When it’s time to serve dessert, they take only 1-2 minutes in the deep fryer before getting drizzled with the toppings of your choice. And remember there is at least 8 hours of freezing involved so start this recipe early in the day, or even the day before you want to serve it.

There are two absolute rules you must follow carefully for success:
  1. Make sure the ice cream balls are frozen solid as rocks before you fry them. If you get impatient and try to fry them before they're cold enough, you will make a horrible mess and be very sorry.
  2. Make sure the coating completely covers them, with no ice cream showing through.

Keeping those two things in mind, here is the recipe:

Mexican Fried Ice Cream

Serves 8

  • 1 1/2 quarts highest quality vanilla ice cream (or flavor or your choice)
  • 4 Cups cornflakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cups sugar
  • 2 eggs

Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup Honey or Caramel Sauce or Chocolate Sauce (or half a cup each of any two toppings)
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream
  • 8 maraschino cherries, with stems
  • shaved chocolate, chopped nuts or other toppings as you wish (optional)


Scoop 8 equal size balls from the ice cream (about 3/4 cup each). Use your hands if necessary to form nice round balls.

Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen solid, at least 2 hours, preferably longer.

When the ice cream balls are frozen good and hard, place the cornflakes in a Ziploc-type bag, seal the bag, and coarsely crush, using your hands or a rolling pin, or whatever works best for you. You can crumb them in a blender, but don't get them too fine; you want a bit of texture left.

Pour the crushed cornflakes onto a large plate (a pie plate works well for me) and add the cinnamon and sugar; mix well.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them with a fork until frothy.

Remove the ice cream balls from the freezer. Dip each ball in the beaten egg, then roll in the crumbs.

Press the crumbs into the balls with your hands, making sure no ice cream shows through.

Dip the coated balls into the egg mixture a second time and roll them in the crumbs again, pressing the crumbs firmly against the original coating.

Place the coated balls back on the baking sheet and return them to the freezer for at least 8 hours or until they are frozen solid. I mean really frozen SOLID. Note that once the balls are frozen solid, you can put them in a sealed freezer bag and keep them frozen for up to two months.

When ready to serve, preheat the deep fryer to 400°.

Place the ice cream balls in the hot oil, no more than 2 or 3 at a time, turning occasionally until they are crisp, no more than 1-2 minutes.

Remove to a paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain.

To serve: place a fried ice cream ball in a serving bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of your choice of sauce. Add a scoop of whipped cream and top it all off with a maraschino cherry. Serve immediately, stand back and prepare yourself for compliments.

Did I mention that Mexico makes outstanding ice cream? Well, they do. I was never much of a vanilla ice cream fan until I tasted some French Vanilla ice cream in Mazatlan many years ago; it blew me away! So use a high quality ice cream yourself if you want to match the quality you'll find in Mexico!

Of course, once you've made it you will want to try variations-- and you should! You are only limited by your imagination. Some suggestions (which I have tried myself):

-Try cherry ice cream coated in crumbled chocolate cookie crumbs instead of corn flakes and sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top of the whipped cream.

-A really excellent combination is pistachio ice cream, drizzled with a combination of caramel and chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts.

-Try chocolate ice cream, drizzled with caramel sauce with mandarin orange slices or sliced strawberries on top of the whipped cream.

-And you might want to try serving it on top of a toasted waffle, with a whipped cream bed for the ice cream and all of it drizzled with more chocolate. Yeah, I do like chocolate and whipped cream, and any excuse to get more of it in my mouth is A-OK with me!

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)