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These Creamsicles Are Made with Fruit—But Not the One You're Thinking

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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.

Tomato Creamsicles
Tomato Creamsicles

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.

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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.

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Tomato Creamsicles

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Makes makes about 15 three-ounce creamsicles or (if your mold is has only 10 cavities) 10 three-ounce creamsicles with ice cream and sorbet left over

For the Sour Cream Ice Cream:

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  • 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
  • Salt

Alice Medrich is a Berkeley, California-based pastry chef, chocolatier, and cookbook author. You can read more about what she's up to here.

Close your eyes and imagine your favorite vending machine or ice cream truck treat. Then tell us about it in the comments!