Pastry chefs always seem to get stuck with more extra work than others in a typical restaurant kitchen. Someone in the dining room was served the wrong entree? Give them free desserts. Need something extra for a VIP banquet for 300 people tonight? Have the pastry department whip up several hundred petit fours. It takes superb organizational skills and excellent improvisational skills to be a pastry chef which is probably the main reason they are able to handle such things. Here is maybe the most common example: the chef approaches the pastry chef and says, “I have 3 cases of something that’s going bad – use them up.” That’s an easy one, just make some ice cream.
I always like to think that anything can be made into an ice cream, so whatever extra ingredients you have on hand can be used to whip something up. Since I’ve been making many marshmallows lately, especially for the FiFis last Tuesday, I’ve had lots of extra egg yolks lying around, plus some lemongrass, heavy cream, and even some toasted coconut from something I can’t remember. That sounded like a winning combination, one that I may have even tried before, so I made it using my basic recipe. It had a very smooth, warm tropical flavor and the lemongrass gives it that extra something that you can’t quite put your finger on. If you have an ice cream maker and want to try it, just use your favorite vanilla recipe and substitute plenty of fresh lemongrass and toasted unsweetened coconut for the vanilla. Strain it out and proceed as usual. I have a feeling I’ll be making lots of ice cream this summer.