As a fan of Firefly and a maker of homemade ice cream, I wanted to recreate the Ice Planet that River finds problematic to eat. For those who have not seen the show, an ice planet is a dessert made of ice cream, suspended on a string attached to a stick. I saw a few variations online, but came up with my own version. My version has a chocolate truffle core, ice cream subsurface, white chocolate shell surface.
River: My food is problematic.
Jayne: Girl's a mind-readin' genius, can't even figure out how to eat an ice-planet.
- Firefly (episode "The Message")
Step 1: Step 1: Making the Ice Cream
Feel free to use store bought ice cream. I just like to make my own. My usual ice cream mixture is 2 cups heavy cream, 2 cups half and half, and 3/4 cup sugar. This creates a very smooth and creamy ice cream. However, I needed something that would freeze up more solid. I switched my mixture to whole milk and heavy cream. I made a Philly style (no egg yolk) vanilla ice cream with a dash of nutmeg.
1 1/2 cups - whole milk
2 1/2 cups - heavy cream
3/4 cups - sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon - vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon - kosher salt
freshly grated nutmeg (or any other flavoring you want to add)
1. Heat milk, cream, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve. Add grated nutmeg and vanilla extract.
2. Create an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. Placing a smaller bowl over it.
3. Strain the warm ice cream base into the top bowl. Cool to room temp and place in the fridge for at least 4 hour or up to 24 hours.
4. Churn in an ice cream maker until soft serve consistency.
5. Pour into a container and place in freezer until firm.
Step 2: Step 2: Making the Chocolate Truffle Core
For the core I made a chocolate truffles (ganache). I used Alton Brown's recipe for the truffles. I only needed a few truffles so I cut it in half.
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 cup brandy (I used bourbon)
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Kitchen twine cut into ~1 foot lengths
Prior to creating the truffles tie one end of each length of twine to a chopstick. I made a small notch to help hold it in.
1. Microwave the 5 oz of chocolate and butter for 30 seconds. Stir, and repeat this process. Set aside.
2.Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup until simmering. Pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the brandy. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
3. Scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves, if desired.
5. Using a chopstick create a hole and feed the other end of a string into each truffle. Roll the truffle again to close the hole
6. Return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
7. Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate stirring occasionally, until it reaches 90 to 92 degrees F; do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F.
8. Dip each truffle in the chocolate until fully coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour.
Step 3: Step 3: Problematic - Creating a Spherical Mold
At this point I hit my first problem. What is the best way to assemble this and create a sphere of ice cream. I looked around the house for anything to use as a mold and I decided on oranges.
1. Cut each orange in half.
2. Scoop out the insides. For this I used a paring knife and made cuts around the wall of each segment. Then I used a spoon to scoop out all the insides leaving only the hollow shell.
3. Place the orange halves in the freezer to harden.
4. When ready to use, line the insides with plastic wrap. Doing this will allow the ice cream to come out of the mold easily.
Step 4: Step 4: Assembling the Ice Cream Sphere
Now that I had some spherical molds, I was able to make a sphere with the ice cream.
1. Fill each half of the mold with ice cream.
2. Make an indentation in the middle of each
3. Place a chocolate truffle in the center
4. Press the halves together
5. Place back in the freezer.
Step 5: Step 5: Creating the Outer Shell
I wanted an outer shell for 2 reasons. 1. To help hold it together and prevent melting too quickly. 2. To give it another layer of color.
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
1-2 drops of blue food color
1. Place white chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl
2. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir.
3. Repeat until its melted.
4. Add blue food color (very little at a time) and stir until you get an icy blue color.
5. Allow the mixture to cool slightly
6. Dip each ice cream sphere into the mixture using a spoon until completely covered.
7. Wait a few seconds until the shell hardens
8. Place on parchment or wax paper and back into the freezer until ready to serve.
As I was bringing this to a party, I wrapped each in plastic wrap once the shell had hardened.
Step 6: Step 6: How to Eat an Ice Planet
The ice planet was indeed problematic to eat on the stick. It was much easier to cut it in half and use a spoon. Once cut in half it was nice to see the different layers.