Thursday June 30, 2011

Land of the Free, Home of the BraveTart

Lexingtonians noticed a conspicuous lack of ice cream on my dessert menu at Table 310 during Kentucky’s sweltering “spring.” More than one observer has pointed out I have both an ice cream machine and a freezer in the Pastry Dungeon so why don’t you use them? Oh my gosh, why don’t I?!

Whenever someone orders ice cream, I’ll just have garde manger stop everything he’s doing, run out of the kitchen, through the restaurant, down a flight of stairs, and across the length of the building. Then he’ll scoop a dish of ice cream, race out of the Dungeon, up the stairs, and navigate through the restaurant crowd before delivering it to the waiting hands of a server. Oh. Right. That’s why I don’t.

Not having a freezer on the line means not serving ice cream. Or, I should say, meant. Last week I went online, found a twenty inch freezer, and the owners bought it for me.

Ice cream, pow!

It arrived Thursday, and I’ve made ice cream every day since.

Given my joy for ice cream, my new freezer, the 4th of July looming on the calendar, and Rosco’s obsession with ridiculously difficult photo shoots, we decided we needed to do something with double scoops and pyrotechnics.

As with all of our photo shoots, Rosco and I shoot the actual recipe used, not a fake-food stand in, and he photographs an actual event, not separate events Photoshopped together. Whether a tart floating in an interstellar gas cloud or rainbow sprinkles showering from the sky, we make it actually happen. So this meant we needed real scoops of ice cream and real fireworks.

Yeah. We have way too much free time.

On the appointed day, I found Rosco sculpting a mountain from mashed potatoes. He explained that I should (artistically?) cover it in heaps of fresh blueberries. The little pastry voice that speaks to me quietly in the night, guiding my pastry thoughts, cried a little. Ew.

This mashed potato-blueberry Mt. Everest surrounded an ice cream cone holder that Rosco fashioned out of copper piping; in turn, we surrounded this set-up with a series of fireworks anchored to the table with extra mashed potatoes. We are so professional! Don’t try this at home, etc.

Lastly, Rosco bravely placed his expensive, precious camera equipment around all of this hoopla. And we got out the matches.

What ensued was a melting catastrophe of ice cream, fire, sparks, exploding blueberries and general chaos.

You know that figure of speech that goes something like, “melted faster than an ice cream cone on the 4th of July”? (As in, “when Mr. BraveTart proposed to me on our third date, my heart melted faster than an ice cream cone on the 4th of July.”)

Now I know how that expression originated, because an ice cream cone out in the summer heat melts extremely fast. Faster than we could style. Faster than we could clean up. Faster than we could eat. In the end, after an entire day’s effort, we only got one photo that worked out as planned.

It may not be the most Food Porn worthy, voluptuous scoop of ice cream. It may have wilted a little in the summer heat. Yet something about its drippy, messy nature captures what it feels like to have an ice cream on a hot July day more than any perfectly styled scoop could.

blueberry mountain fire works and ice cream

I snapped a few photos with my pocket camera while Rosco worked on shooting the real thing. Though my photos look unarguably abysmal next to Rosco’s, they show a little of the behind-the-scenes mania we went through. I shot from an angle about 45° off of where Rosco stood, hence the fireworks seem to go beside the ice cream in my photos, while clearly behind in Rosco’s.

Whether you’re American or not, I hope your 4th of July includes a tall, melty cone of ice cream.

Here are the two recipes I used, plus a super simple coconut milk variation that just happens to be vegan.

Blueberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream
Blueberry or Strawberry Ice Cream (vegan)

posted byStellaand filed under:  Fruit  Ice Cream  Sideshow Photos

14 comments and counting

Jun 30, 2011 · 10:56 AM

swoon…well done Rosco and Stella.

 · Carrie · 

Jun 30, 2011 · 11:29 AM

Mrs. B, Never apologize for melting ice cream. Crisco-based-ice-cream-style photos are the Pamela Anderson of food-blog porn…looks nice, but once you’ve…hrm…“had the experience”, you may regret it. Kudos to your honest to goodness melting ice cream! Three cheers for letting us know that like Helen Mirren, ice cream only gets better with a little age. (I would, I don’t care what any of my friends say, I would.) Slip and Slides aren’t the same without a hose (ouch) and ice cream isn’t the same without a stained polo.
PS. Bully for Rosco for the “Encounters of the Third Kind” inspiration, I love it.

 · Chefjames · 

Jun 30, 2011 · 12:15 PM

YOU’RE RUINING THE MAGIC!!! Now everyone knows about my secret mashed potato sculptures!

Haha… thanks for being so kind in explaining my knack for over-complicating all of our photos to everyone. I don’t think it could possibly have been revealed in a gentler way.

 · Rosco ·

Jun 30, 2011 ·  1:37 PM

Wow! Great pictures and your ice cream looks amazing. I think you will make it to the top 9

 · veronica gantley ·

Jun 30, 2011 ·  6:16 PM

Stella Wizard, what think you about using frozen local strawberries to get the juice and start the reduction? Given the total absence of local strawberries at the moment and the vital role of RED in RW&B? I happen to have some frozen local strawberries….

 · Rona Roberts ·

Jun 30, 2011 ·  7:31 PM

The photos are great, thanks for sharing a bit of the magic.

 · Nicole ·

Jun 30, 2011 ·  8:57 PM

@Carrie, don’t you mean spoon?

@Howard, always good to see you here, sir. “Ice cream isn’t the same without a stained polo” would make a great…t-shirt.

@Rosco, by “over complicate” do you mean, “taking the epic up a notch”?

@veronica, oooh Top 9! It’s been a while…

@Rona, the recipe is perfect for frozen berries. I’ll update the recipes to reflect that, I bet many people wonder the same thing.

@Nicole, thanks so much. Rosco did a super job, he was like inches away from the fireworks. Totally a hero.


Jun 30, 2011 ·  9:35 PM

Will one of you please just adopt me already? PLEASE? I love you guys. You’re so inspiring!! Thanks for sharing the method to your madness. Oh! And the recipes. The buttermilk one is intriguing…

 · Kaitlin ·

Jul 01, 2011 ·  1:58 AM

This is one of the only food blogs that makes me laugh so loud it annoys my loved ones. You guys get that honor. This photo shoot is spectacular. I happen to have a “Rosco” in my life, so call me endeared. You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore.

 · Terris @ Free Eats ·

Jul 01, 2011 ·  3:55 AM

Oh I am so desperately jealous of your crazy fabulous partnership. What I wouldn’t give to have explosions, fire, chaos and generally apocalyptic photoshoots. You know it I’m president of the BraveTart & Rosco fan club. Great photos, and a delicious looking ice cream. MMMM

 · Chocolate Chilli Mango ·

Jul 01, 2011 ·  9:57 AM

@Kaitlin, I shall gladly adopt you. Please send the paperwork, asap.

@Terris, haha, that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing that little window into your world. Yeah, I think everyone should have a Rosco. I get so depressed now when I have to take shots on my crappy little camera (you know, for personal things, work… . I’ve become accustomed to his epic glory, and everything else just pales in comparison.

@CCM, Madame President, thanks for visiting. Yes indeed, apocalyptic was the word.


Jul 01, 2011 · 12:28 PM

Hi Stella and Rosco, beautiful work here! The creamy, melty goodness is matched only by the firey, skillfull photography that captured it. May you-n-yours have a terrific July 4 holiday.

 · Brooks at Cakewalker ·

May 22, 2012 · 12:18 AM

hi stella! i am doing a summer recipe round up and would love to use the top photo (with credit and link, of course) for the dessert section. let me know if you are cool with this!

 · susan ·

May 22, 2012 · 10:47 AM

@susan, absolutely! Feel free.



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