Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Creme Brulee a la Mode (An Ice Cream Review)

Yep, I’m blogging about ice cream on the coldest day of the year, after biking to class in -14-degree weather and 20-mph wind gusts. But hey, it’s Ben & Jerry’s, and I think that is more than enough explanation. ;)

This time I got to try something totally new, something I had no idea what to expect from: Creme Brulee.

“Sweet Custard Ice Cream with a Caramelized Sugar Swirl”
Now, I’ve never even had real creme brulee before, so I won’t be able to tell you how well this represents the actual dessert. But the words “caramelized sugar” sound right up my alley, so I decided to take a chance in this pint. By the way, the ONLY store that sells this in State College is Wegmans.

Opening it up, I’m a bit nervous because it looks so...boring. You know I love mix-ins, and all this has is a swirl, which is hard to see because the color is similar to that of the ice cream. I had the same trepidation with Cake Batter, but at least with that one the chocolate frosting swirl was both obvious and super-plentiful.

I started scooping, and eventually found some more obvious trails of swirl, but they’re still deceptively hidden.

I say deceptive because once you start eating, they unleash their full potential on you. But first, to comment on the base: whatever “sweet custard” is, it is REALLY sweet! Cake Batter had an almost overly sweet and rich frosting swirl, and both the base and pastry cream of Boston Cream Pie had my eyes popping, but this is on a whole new level. If I had to describe it, I’d say it was pure sugar.

And the swirl is even MORE sugary (what would you excpect from a caramelized sugar swirl?). Starting out, I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to finish my bowl (which did NOT include the entire pint, thank you very much ;)). And the texture threw me off. It’s a sugary, gritty crunch, and at first it felt like finding ice in your ice cream, which I’m pretty sure most of you would agree is a terrible experience. It almost made my teeth hurt just thinking about crunching on ice.

As the ice cream sits out and gets that extra-creamy, melty texture, though, things improve dramatically. The thicker areas of swirl and those in the more melted sections take on a bit of a cookie/dough texture, more of a soft grit. Maybe I was just getting used to it, but it also seemed easier to take the sweetness when slightly melted. Plus, there’s no arguing with such a creamy base. While perfectly scoopable straight out of the freezer, it goes to a whole new level if you let it sit for a bit.

So, I guess I need to try creme brulee and see if it’s really this overpoweringly sugary. Until then, I’ll have to trust Ben & Jerry’s representation. They definitely didn’t make my top flavors with this one, but it was no failure either. As always with B&J, highly enjoyable and unique in its own way. I’m just not sure it’ll be back in my freezer.
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