I'm really curious what it's going to be like. I've never been to an ice cream class before. I feel like there are a lot more costs associated with making ice cream than say, making Thai food (I took a Thai cooking class with Arlington county years ago).
It's capped at 30 people, and at $15 a head, that's not a lot of money to work with. You figure maybe $50 for the teacher (assuming a 2 hr class), and the synagogue is putting it on, so there's no (or minimal) rental fee. Plus, ice cream can be kind of expensive, when you're working with high-end ingredients, like organic cream and fancy chocolates (note: I don't).
How will they handle the multiple ice cream machines they'll need? Or will they rent a professional machine for the day? (That would be awesome, but those are pricey). What kind of crowd is going to be there? Am I about to wander into a big, underground ice cream making community? The first rule of ice cream club is there is no ice cream club? No, of course not... as far as you know.
Plus, there's so much variation in how to make ice cream. French or Philadelphia style? Jeni's approach, where you replace eggs with chemistry? Will she know who David Lebovitz is? Will this turn into a Jets vs. Sharks brawl?
And of course the big question.. how much ice cream will I get to eat?
I'll report back.
I wandered in a few minutes before 2 pm, and was greeted by a big room with several round tables, with four or five people at each. Each seat had a packet of paper, with some ice cream making tips and two recipes: Coffee Straciatella and Vanilla Bean with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Covered Potato Chips.
The crowd was mostly girls in their late twenties, and many of them seemed to know each other. Pretty much what you would get, I think, at any local gathering of similarly-aged jews on the east coast. So many of them went to the same summer camps when they were younger, it could have been their ten year reunion.
In front of the room were two tables, each with an ice cream maker, a couple of electric burners, and assorted pots and spatulas.
Good news/bad news time. Good news: both flavors sounded really good, and I was excited to try the salted caramel and chocolate-covered potato chips mix-ins. Bad news: two ice cream machines (at about a quart each) / 30 people = not enough ice cream for me. Hopefully they anticipated this, and pre-made a whole batch.
The class itself was run by Naomi Sugar (her real name.. she did not, she pointed out, change her name for her blog. "That would be weird."), of 365 Scoops. She gave a good walk-through of how to make an egg-based custard, with some helpful if basic tips on how to make ice cream. I tried to picture myself in her place giving the class, and while I'm probably technically proficient, I couldn't have matched her energy, so good job by her.
My second favorite part of the day? Her salted caramel sauce went wrong, resulting in a crystallized mess. No, of course I'm not happy that something went wrong. Far from it.. especially since it meant I didn't get to eat any. Rather, I was happy to see that I'm not the only one who screws up their caramel sauce, and I felt a little better that it happens to the pros too.
My favorite part, of course, was eating the ice cream at the end. Turns out they made several batches earlier this morning, and she served three flavors. Coffee straciatella, Triple chocolate with peanut butter cup brownies (served a la mode), and Key lime pie with caramel-covered graham crackers. All were good, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think some of my ice cream is actually a little better (to be fair, this was made in bulk, in someone else's kitchen.. probably not her best example).
That said, I'm very impressed by her ambition. Not only does she have a real blog, not only does she sell her ice cream, but she MADE caramel-covered graham crackers and chocolate-covered potato chips. Those are both great examples of the kind of thing that makes me skip right over a recipe. I'm MUCH too lazy to make that sort of thing. But what really makes me feel inferior? She has real ice cream containers, with her name on them and everything! Definitely a step up from Giant-brand cottage cheese containers.
So there you have it. My day at ice cream school.