I’m delighted by almost any dessert that pairs rich creamy ice cream with a jolt of tangy sorbet or sherbet. It’s the Creamsicle Effect—and it gets me every time.
No matter how sophisticated or intricate (or expensive) the dessert, I can’t help thinking about the iconic two-tone vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet ice pop that we bought from vending machines as kids. I haven’t had the real thing for decades; it’s the concept that’s genius. It’s all about tangy with creamy, tart with sweet, and icy with smooth: multiple contrasts.
There’s one final contrast that everyone experiences without noticing: The sherbet feels dramatically colder than the ice cream, even though they both just came out of the same freezer. As a result, you get contrasting textures, flavors, levels of sweetness, and temperatures. How impressive it that for a simple vending machine dessert? And what a great and simple lesson for curious cooks and aspiring dessert chefs—that a nonfat or low-fat sorbet, sherbet, or granita always feels colder than a rich ice cream, that a dish of ice cream gets a whole lot sexier when you add a scoop of sorbet or sherbet, or scrape a hailstorm of granita over the top.
My updated Creamsicle is a combo of sour cream ice cream and tomato sorbet. I used my favorite dry-farmed Early Girl Tomatoes for the sorbet, and tipped my hat to the vending machine dessert of memory by adding a little grated orange zest.
For the Sour Cream Ice Cream:
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (50 grams) premium non fat milk powder (I like Organic Valley or Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (28 grams) golden syrup (or 2 tablespoons more sugar)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 4 to 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
For the Tomato Sorbet
- 2 1/3 cups (400 grams) 1-inch tomato chunks* (I used very flavorful dry-farmed Early Girls)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 unsprayed or organic orange (for zest), optional
Close your eyes and imagine your favorite vending machine or ice cream truck treat. Then tell us about it in the comments!