Step 6: The ice cream is totally not green, as one might expect a Christmas Tree ice cream to be. And that’s just because it’s all natural, no artificial flavors or colorings in our pints. Here’s a batch of freshly churned ‘scream with our candied cranberries mixed throughout.
Step 2: Three steps here - we cut the branches up, cut the fronds off the branches, and then pulled the needles off the fronts. It was quite the process and all passersby in our shared kitchen space looked at us like we were crazy.
Step 1: It all started with a dream: a Holiday Tree*, but in ice cream form. Can we do it? After some research about the health benefits of pine and fir needles, we decided, yes, yes we can. Nay, we should!
So a trip to our local tree purveyor in Soho on one cold stormy night led us to our needles. Upon arrival, we asked, “Can we taste your pine needles? Bet we’re the first ones to ask you that, huh?” Yes and yes. They were more than happy to comply, even offering tasting notes on the different needles - some had a deep pine taste, some with floral hints, even a hint of grapefruit in one. Ultimately we settled on Noble Fir. (Yeah, so technically it’s a fir ice cream, but we’re still calling it pine.)
Much to our contentment, they offered us their extra fronds, the branches that had been trimmed from trees to make then symmetrical. They would have otherwise thrown them away.
So in the rain, covered in fir fronds, we trekked back to our kitchen to prep the ‘scream.
We’re pretty stoked about this flavor and not only because it is PINE NEEDLE ICE CREAM. But, also because it’s FLAVOR # 100. Yes, ONE HUNDRED This is the 100th totally unique, made from scratch, hand-packed flavor that we’ve made for our members. We can’t believe what started as a desire to make a better pint of ice cream has come this far.
Get ready for the making of O, Christmas Tree. It’s a true adventure in ice cream.
Step 1: We’re in the kitchen and making our flavors of the month now! For our chestnut flavor, we started with half real chestnuts, and half creme de marron. After cracking the chestnuts, adding sugar, a hefty amount of salt, and some cream, we have our chestnut base.
Now that THAT’s over, time to announce our December Flavors of the month!
#99 Chestnuts Roasting roasted chestnut ice cream Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire. Or in a commercial scale oven. And then pureed and turned into ice cream. That’s what we’re up to this holiday season! We’re typically good at resisting that oh-so-tempting smell at every corner around this time of year. But this month we’ve fallen victim to the Nuts4Nuts dudes and found ourselves elbow deep in chestnuts, crafting our first Chestnut ice cream flavor. If you’ve ever had a bite into a marron glacé, tasted that sugary creamy rush of chestnut, then you’ll love this flavor.
#100 O Christmas Tree pine needle ice cream with candied cranberries Excuse the name, we know it’s not PC, but we’re so excited that we’ve turned a Christmas Tree into ice cream. Using the green needles of a young pine tree, candied cranberries, and a LOT of holiday cheer, here you go: the holidays in a pint. It’s sweet and, well, pine-y, with a tang from fresh cranberries. We hope that every bite makes you want to “deck them halls and all that stuff.” (Charlie Brown anyone?)
Step 4: Now for the PIE part of Purple Passion Pie. See, that’s the whole point of this pint. Here’s where the inspiration came from:
We love to do a concord flavor every year, (last year was Monster Mash, before that, PBnJ). But this year, were at a loss for what to craft. Until research brought us to the Grape Pie Capital of the World - in Naples, NY!
Long before the current artisan food movement out of which MIlkMade spawned, there was a artisan movement of its own, upstate in Naples, New York. Story has it that one woman began baking concord grape pies out of her home, selling them on the side of the road and to a few local restaurants. Her husband skinned the grapes and she baked pie after pie, all day, every day in the two short autumn months that Concords are available. One year she made 18,000 pies!
Soon grape pies became a trend, with residents of Naples all making their own pies, setting up their own shop out of their homes and the trunks of their cars. (Sounds like Brooklyn around summer of 2010, eh?) And soon enough, Naples became known as the Grape Pie Capital of the World. Who knew!
Step 3: Once the grapes are cooked down, we add the compote to our house-made ice cream base. No sugar necessary this time around, since the grapes are so saccharine! Each batch looks a bit different, with a different shade of purple, depending on the brightness of the concords in the batch.
Step 2: We take our fresh concord grapes and cook them down, macerating them, and de-stemming and peeling them in the process. It can get messy! But it’s also really pretty. Here’s our Milkmaid, Mara, with her beautiful gloves.