momofuku milk bar exam no. 13 {cheesecake ice cream}

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Ice cream is not a seasonal food but it tastes especially good during the summer, doesn't it? Eaten in a cool air conditioned room, of course.

Cheesecake ice cream is actually one of my favorite flavors (the graham crackers are a necessity) so I was very excited to make this recipe. While traditional ice cream bases require the technique of tempering egg yolks in heated cream, in this recipe the egg is baked in the liquid cheesecake thus no risk of scrambled eggs in your ice cream.

If you have an ice cream machine, it comes together in a pinch! Unfortunately, I don't have space in my New York apartment for one so I maximized on my visit home and used my mom's... it was a mutually beneficial exchange. My mom is actually quite the ice cream fiend-- a lean mean Häagen-Dazs eating machine.  One time I found a photo of her in the late 80's smiling proudly, showcasing a delicious Häagen-Dazs cone in one hand. And a baby (me) dangling in her other hand. The fact that the ice cream took priority only makes me proud to be her daughter.

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Originally, this ice cream is meant to be eaten as soft serve as it's sold at the Momofuku Milk Bar stores. I can see why, because once completely frozen, you might as well be scooping marble! When slightly thawed though, it's worth the wrist pain. You could even add some strawberries or blueberries during the churning process to make it even more summer appropriate. Or better yet go all out and sandwich it between some blueberry and cream, confetti, or corn cookies. Again, this is completely fine to eat all year round no matter what season.

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cheesecake ice cream from Momofuku Milk Bar makes about 450g (1 pint)

  • 1 gelatin sheet (½ teaspoon powdered gelatin)
  • 1 cup (220g) milk
  • ½ recipe Liquid Cheesecake
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sour cream
  • ½ cup (85g, ¼ recipe) Graham Crust
  • ¼ cup (20g) milk powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt

(1) Bloom the gelatin. (2) Warm a little bit of the milk and whisk in the gelatin to dissolve. (3) Transfer the gelatin mixture to a blender, add the remaining milk, the liquid cheesecake, sour cream, graham crust, milk powder, and salt, and puree until smooth and even. Don’t be stingy on the blending time: you want to make sure the graham crust is completely liquefied; otherwise your cheesecake ice cream will be missing that flavor. (4) Pour the ice cream base through a fine-mesh sieve into your ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is best spun just before serving or using, but it will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Liquid Cheesecake makes about 325g (1¼ cups)

  • 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese
  • ¾ cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (6g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) milk
  • 1 egg

(1)   Heat the oven to 300° F. (2)   Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl (3)   Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous. (4)   With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (5)   Line the bottom and sides of a 6x6 inch baking pan with plastic wrap. Poor the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more then 25 minutes to underbake one. If the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately. (6)   Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Graham Crust makes about 340g (2 cups)

  • 1½ cups (190g) graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup (20g) milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick, 55g) butter, melted, or as needed
  • ¼ cup (55g) heavy cream

(1) Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients. (2) Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and mix it in. (3) Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 7 {banana cream pie}

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Banana pudding, Bananas Foster, banana bread... Southerners really do have a knack for turning anything remotely healthy into a decadent treat. You could put this banana cream pie at the top of that list. I'm not sure if it's purely Southern, but it's pretty darn delicious.

This was my first attempt at making and eating banana cream pie. When it comes to pies, I generally stick to either pecan pie or ones with berries. Again, this cookbook is proving to be a godsend for my culinary ignorance. My tastebuds are forever indebted.

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A traditional banana cream pie usually has a buttery pie dough or a graham cracker crust but I really liked the chocolate crumb crust here. It was not too sweet and provided a deep flavor that went so perfectly with the bananas. Plus you get to give a little oh-it's-no-big-deal shrug when people ask... "you made the cookie crumbs for the crust too?"

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I had so much fun making this pie. While a Momofuku Milk Bar recipe, this banana cream pie reminded me of something a grandma would make, the BEST grandma ever... maybe it was also the whipped cream delirium.

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banana cream pie from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 1 (10-inch) pie; serves 8 to 10

  • 1 recipe Banana Cream
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Crust
  • 1 banana, just ripe, sliced

Pour half of the banana cream into the pie shell. Cover it with a layer of sliced bananas, then cover the bananas with the remaining banana cream. The pie should be stored in the fridge and eaten within a day of when you make it.

Note: Tosi keeps her decorations to a minimum but I figured she wouldn't mind if I took some creative license. As you can see, I topped mine with about ¼ cup of whipped cream, some more sliced bananas, and a sprinkling of the chocolate crumbs. You could also use chocolate shavings, brûléed bananas, let your Milk Bar imagination go bananas (I had to).

Banana Cream makes about 775g (3 cups)

  • about 2 (225g) rrrrrripe bananas (like completely black and disgusting-looking on the outside-- trust me. I found the easiest method is to let the bananas ripen on the counter, freeze them, and then let defrost in the fridge the day before you make the pie. They'll squeeze right out like toothpaste.)
  • ⅓ cup (75g) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (55g) milk
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 gelatin sheets [used 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin]
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) butter
  • ½ teaspoon (25 drops) yellow food coloring (10 drops were enough for me)
  • ¾ cup (160g) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (160g) confectioners’ sugar (reduced to ½ cup, which was plenty sweet!)

(1) Combine the bananas, cream, and milk in a blender and puree until totally smooth. (2) Add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks and continue to blend until homogenous. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Clean the blender canister. (3) Bloom the gelatin. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water. Let sit for about 10 minutes. (4) Whisk the contents of the pan and heat over medium-low heat. As the banana mixture heats up, it will thicken. Bring to a boil and then continue to whisk vigorously for 2 minutes to fully cook out the starch. The mixture will resemble thick glue, bordering on cement, with a color to match. (5) Dump the contents of the pan into the blender. Add the bloomed gelatin and the butter and blend until the mixture is smooth and even. Color the mixture with yellow food coloring until it is a bright cartoon-banana yellow. (It’s a ton of coloring, I know, but banana creams don’t get that brilliant yellow color on their own. Womp.) (6) Transfer the banana mixture to a heatsafe container, and put in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes—as long as it takes to cool completely. (7) Using a whisk or a mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar to medium-soft peaks. (When you pull the whisk away from the whipped cream, the mounds of cream hold their shape softly.) Add the cold banana mixture to the whipped cream and slowly whisk until evenly colored and homogenous. Stored in an airtight container, banana cream keeps fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Chocolate Crust makes 1 (10-inch) pie crust

  • ¾ recipe (260g, 1¾ cups) Chocolate Crumb
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon (0.5g) kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, melted, or as needed

(1) Pulse the chocolate crumbs in a food processor until they are sandy and no sizeable clusters remain. (2) Transfer the sand to a bowl and, with your hands, toss with the sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and knead it into the sand until it is moist enough to knead into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14g (1 tablespoon) butter and knead it in. (3) Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch pie tin. With your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the chocolate crust firmly into the tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the pie tin are evenly covered. Wrapped in plastic wrap, the crust can be stored at room temp for up to 5 days or in the fridge for 2 weeks. 

Chocolate Crumb makes about 350g (2½ cups)

  • ⅔ cup (105g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • ⅔ cup (65g) cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, melted

(1) Heat the oven to 300°F. (2) Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt n the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed. (3) Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters. (4) Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool. (5) Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.