Are you curious about the science behind what happens to food as it cooks? Are you the innovative type, used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? I'm Jeff Potter and I want to help you apply your curiosity, inspiration, and mind for invention to the food you love to eat, prepare, and share!
Today's adventure in gastronomy is the fastest dessert in the west; a delicious ice cream that you can make in 30 seconds using liquid nitrogen. It looks cool (well, freezing actually), it's fun, and it tastes amazing! What's not to love?
Step 1: Safety First! Goggles and Gloves Are a Must!
While liquid nitrogen is actually a lot less scary than people think, you still need to take the proper precautions when working with it. No, it won't turn you into a shattering ice sculpture like you see in the movies, but liquid nitrogen is so cold that it actually boils at -320º F, so being prepared with the appropriate equipment is the key to both safety and success. If you get your ice cream right, the liquid nitrogen actually boils away quite quickly, leaving the final product with a temperature that is pretty much the same as regular ice cream.
What You'll Need (besides goggles & gloves)
Something to flavour your ice cream - use your imagination here! I used strawberry jam, but the world is your oyster! Okay, maybe don't use actual oysters.
Step 2: Locate That Container of Liquid Nitrogen That You've Had Lying Around the House
Finally, you've found a use for that giant vat of liquid nitrogen that has been taking-up space in the extra bedroom for months. You knew it would come in handy eventually!
However, if you don't have access to a massive vat of liquid nitrogen, don't despair. You can still get your hands on some by visiting one of many specialty retailers that cater to the culinary crowd. They will walk you through all of the best safety and storage equipment and practices, and get you on the right track.
Step 3: Decant a Little Liquid Nitrogen Into Your Bowl
Wearing your gloves and safety goggles, decant a modest amount of liquid nitrogen into a designated container. Here, I'm using a metal mixing bowl.
Make sure that you're working in a location where it is safe for you to make a bit of a mess in case the liquid nitrogen bubbles-over, which it may (but that's part of the fun!) If you can get outdoors, that's probably best, but in lieu of that, consider covering any surfaces of the immediate are with a tablecloth or plastic lining to save yourself a little cleanup later.
Once you have decanted a bit of liquid nitrogen into your bowl, carefully set the bowl aside for a moment.
Step 4: Combine Your Ice Cream Ingredients and Mix
Pour your Milk, Cream, and flavouring into a separate mixing bowl and mix, using an automatic mixer. Adjust the mixer to a slow to moderate speed.
I used strawberry jam here, but the flavour options are limitless, so feel free to experiment!
Step 5: Gradually Add the Liquid Nitrogen
Battle stations! This is the fun part.
Make sure that your mixer is running at a nice slow, steady speed. Still wearing your gloves and goggles? Good. Slowly add your liquid nitrogen to the ice cream mixture.
Because liquid nitrogen boils at -320º F, the moment the liquid nitrogen hits the ice cream mix, you're going to have a bit of liquid nitrogen drama. In a good way. In other words, it's going to bubble-up. Probably a lot.
Right about the time the liquid nitrogen fog starts to clear, you should be able to watch your ice cream setting. you can tell your ice cream has set by the texture of the ice cream, as well as the speed that the mixer is running at. The thicker the ice cream, the harder the mixer has to work.
Step 6: Serve It Up!
Once your ice cream is the texture you want it, serve it up!
**Important note: If you're hosting a dinner party, remember to remove your safety goggles and gloves before returning to the dining room. We don't want anyone thinking you're a serial killer.
Step 7: Check Out the Book
For more innovative recipes that allow you to explore your scientific side, check out the book Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter. Click here to read two chapters for free!
For more unique and interesting science-meets-food videos, like and subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Cooking for Geeks is available on Amazon.