Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer


Cold & Gold Ice Cream Pie

posted by in Food Purveyors

Ian Carandang is the master of Manila’s artisan ice cream makers. Here’s his pie that proves why.

There are numerous posts on Dessert Comes First where artisan ice cream maker, Ian Carandang of Sebastian’s Ice Cream, is mentioned. To my mind, he is the first one in Manila who elevated ice cream to an art form even before the term “artisan ice cream maker” came about. He’s been making ice cream as long as DCF has been around (eight years), and when I look back on my very first feature on him, I’m amazed at his versatility and ingenuity.

Taken as a whole, Manila’s artisan ice cream makers focus on ice cream – straightforward and scoopable. Ian, on the other hand, swerves the curve and deviates from the pack. If you’ve met him, brash and big he is, you know that his personality – at its core – wouldn’t settle for less. Thus: Chilly Burgers (ice cream sandwiches); blue cheese ice cream (a mind-bender of a flavor); vegan-friendly, made with coconut milk Tibok-Tibok; and ice-cream-on-a-stick-on-steroids, Dive Bars.


Ian’s latest creation – although I’m admittedly one of the last to try it – is his Leche Flan Ice Cream Pie. I hear about and see this wonder virtually before I even get to lay eyes on it in reality. “Sooo GOOD!” Reads a blissful post in one social network. “Finally got a slice of Sebastian’s Leche Flan Ice Cream Pie!” Goes the caption of another in another app. It’s apparently so popular that it takes me some time to find a store that hasn’t run out of this much-lauded pie.

Straight from the chiller, don’t be deceived by the pie’s fairly frigid form – let it warm up, literally and otherwise. Impatient individuals who attempt to gnaw on or impale a slice with a fork will only get jaw lock and/or a chunk of something that tastes like cold nothing. Best you bide your time for it to like you (because you know you already like it) and gaze at its gold-inflected countenance. Wait for warmth, you know it’s worth it.

The leche flan ice cream pie, from the base up, consists of a butter cookie crust, leche flan ice cream, and then leche flan. Its brilliant conception came about from Ian’s desire to “… combine chunks of real leche flan in ice cream. I wasn’t sure it was even possible to create a flan that thin, and on top of a pie, at that!” Ian recalls.


When frost on the flan turns to gold, it’s time. Come: a forkful slides and sweeps into the mouth. Immediately: cold then cool, then flan falling onto tongue. Taste: expressions of egg elevated by sugar. Pressing down with the roof of your mouth triggers a rush of ice cream, a reflection of recent flavors – eggy and sweet and now, creamy. Tastes play and linger. Wait for it … And then: a zing of zest. Orange, it is. Did you get that? I did. I still do. Popping up and pulling forth the flavor, this final fillip readies you for more. Then more again.

This ice cream pie, unlike any I’ve tried before, hinges on textural pleasure, shamelessly and exceedingly so. How does Ian keep the leche flan so supple even when frozen? How I adore its honeyed density and its synergy of soft on sweet on cold.There’s always been something in Ian Carandang that sparks to incomparable creativity. Here’s his masterful creation of cool.


Leche Flan Ice Cream Pie by Sebastian’s Ice Cream
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12 Responses to “Cold & Gold Ice Cream Pie”

  • I confess to hoarding slices on the day it came out and for weeks thereafter.
    No regrets. ;-)


    Lori Reply:

    No wonder I had trouble looking for slices of this pie! :p When I finally found some, I bought an entire pie.


  • I love how you write and your pictures just complete the experience.
    Amazing, inspiring, crave-inducing! :)


    Lori Reply:

    Thanks very much, Dogbone! Was attempting to describe the experience visually and literally.


  • how much does it cost per slice? I would love to try it too! :D


    Lori Reply:

    Ima -
    It’s P120 / slice; P900 for a whole pie.


  • Just in time as I was looking for a dessert to ease the bitter taste of “sambong tea” on my tongue, i’ve come across this so deliciously yummy pic of Leche Flan Ice Cream of Sebastian’s Ice Cream artistically shot. Took the chance to read this article, and …. i felt as if I’m actually eating a slice of it. Really mouth-watering, creatively described. Two thumbs up !


  • Wow looks and sounds divine..!

    Must track a slice (or two) down this weekend. ;)


  • Hi Lori!

    I’d like to say that I still love this item from Sebastian’s, but unfortunately, the quality is not the same as when it was still good. It’s come out waaaaaay too sweet and nakaka-umay after the first 1-2 bites. :(

    “K” bought this pie over for a get-together with friends not long ago and everyone had a headache from the unrestrained sweetness. Sayang talaga, it used to be okay. Great work on the photos, though! :) As always, you have a way of making food (even the unbalanced, way too sweet ones) sexy or even sexier.


  • drool. first time i have heard of it. but the way you talked about it, drool. i love sebastian’s! but since the one in alabang closed down, i don’t know where to get my fix except for MOA!


  • Speechless!


  • Hi Lori,

    I have never been a fan of ice cream in general (Sacrilege, I know) but having said that, I love Sebastian’s. I think Ian is a genius and it shows in his work.


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