Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Pakhlava ice cream! An artisinal creation worth the price
I was a little perplexed by this during our summer visit with our daughter Mandy. Artisinal is just a fancy way of saying something was made by the hand of someone with special skill.
It's kind of a hoity-toity way of distinguishing the good stuff from factory-produced food, but what's new other than the name? Any decent, neighborhood restaurant or bakery seems to fit the bill -- but slap an "artisinal" label on just about anything and it seems you can really bump up the price.
Without going out of our way, we encountered (and consumed) artisinal bread, artisinal beer, artisinal pickles (!) and even artisinal doughnuts -- all of which were fine but nothing to write home (or even a blog item) about.
Then we encountered artisinal ice cream from an outfit with the amusing name of Melt Bakery at a street fair on the Lower East Side.
Standing beside heat-resistant mock-ups of their creations in a shaded kiosk at Seward Park, Kareem Hamady and Julian Plyter looked more like contestants on Top Chef than Good Humor Men.
Their ice-cream sandwiches all looked great, the baked part being outer layers of chocolate chip cookies or brownies or...pakhlava!
Although Plyter is the pastry chef, the fillo concoction was Hamady's idea
-- and appropriately named The Kareem.
Not only was it a great idea, it was impressively executed. The baked dough, drizzled with rose-water syrup, yielded gently to the bite so that the ice cream didn't squirt out the sides.
Beneath the dough was a layer of crushed pistachio nuts -- and inside, a generous filling of very rich pistachio ice cream.
These were high-quality ingredients, and the result tasted great. Considering what Ben & Jerry charge, Kareem and Julian's creation was definitely worth the $4.
The portion size was generous, too -- easily sharable, although Robyn was absent so I was forced to eat the entire thing myself. Anything less would have been unfair to you, the readers.