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
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sebastians.Ice.Cream