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For one summer in college, I waited tables at a popular but crappy Mexican restaurant in a mall in town called Galvestons. Popular because it served the ginormous Tex-Mex dishes which America loves to dig into: baskets of popcorn shrimp, sizzling fajitas, sombrero-sized taco salads, jugs of frozen margaritas. Crappy because I had to stick a giant pink flower on my ear, was forced to wear high heels if I wore shorts instead of pants, and because I came home smelling of scorched onions every night. It was a very rough summer, but it was my own fault for taking the job. I should have taken heed on my very first day when the manager accused me of cheating on my "menu and price" test (I got a perfect score which I guess was unheard of in those parts). The bosses liked to yell, guys got way too drunk at the bar, and servers quit every night. I took a week off at the end of the summer and never came back.
I was addicted to the fried ice cream though. Frozen balls of cinnamon ice cream were coated in crushed cornflakes and then quickly dunked in hot oil till crispy. As a final touch they were topped off with a drizzle of honey. The fun part of this dish (and a physics feat that I've yet to figure out) is that the ice cream stays mostly frozen within the hot crunchy shell, allowing you to get the awesome contrasts of hot/cold and crisp/soft.
Making this seemingly complicated feat of a dessert at home is easier than you think. It can be prepped way ahead of time, fries up in seconds, and it makes a huge impression on your guests. The only tricky part here is keeping your ice cream balls from melting while you're scooping and packing them with coating. (I found that wearing gloves and starting with a chilled tray helps.) To keep the ice cream contained while frying, the ice cream balls get a double coating of cornflakes, with a dip in egg in between. For my version of fried ice cream, I like the combination of sweet coconut and cornflakes for the coating. And instead of honey, I find a puddle of chocolate coconut sauce complements the toasted coconut just right.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.
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