So You Want To Make Ice Cream At Baitcon?
This page is full of great advice. You can also ask us for advice/suggestions in advance by emailing icecream at baitcon dot org* – a great group of folks read that email and are also happy to help you once you arrive at Baitcon. Look for/ask for Marc, Scott, Jude, LizO, Eric, Phil Salkie (aka Phil the Bald), seph, corwin and so many others.
Tips & Suggestions from Cthulhia
Baitcon isn’t actually about the ice cream.
Ok. Maybe it is. 🙂
We get cheap thrills playing with liquid nitrogen. It cheers me to see someone think my Beer flavored ice cream is actually palatable, even good. In fact, it cheers all of us so much that we understand when someone wants to make a weird flavor and see people gush about it.
Sometimes a wacky flavor works, sometimes it really REALLY doesn’t.
After a few years of experiments, we’ve gotten better at predicting the outcome. Hence, we share in the job of trying to stop bad experiments from happening, or at least reduce their scale. Once people are there, with some weird exotic ingredient they carted all the way from Tasmania as carry-on luggage on a charter flight, it’s trickier to say “WHAT were you thinking?” Someone’ll probably still say it, but they’d rather not. Hence this page.
Trying New Recipes
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org* if you have an ingredient in search of a recipe.
There is a slim chance you’ll find a palatable flavor not in the Baitcon library. However, if you have a flavor idea sufficiently in advance, ask the folks at email@example.com* about how to best present your flavor. (Yes, all of us, even if you think only one person can answer, this way we all know what flavors are being considered.)
We’ll give you recommendations, and suggestions as to how much you can prepare prior to Baitcon.
An example: a cranberry recipe was on Marc’s want list for five or six years, but he never got around to doing the prep and it would be completely impossible to do from scratch at Baitcon. It wasn’t until someone contacted him in advance, wanting to make that flavor, that he remembered and the recipe was made. (If it’s the cranberry sorbet I think it is, it was *wonderful*).
Do as much of your recipe as you can before Baitcon
The kitchen is too small. Really.
Sorbets can, and should, be almost entirely done before you leave home. However, let us know what flavors you are intending to make. This helps avoid conflicts with other folks who are making similar flavors.
Coffee & Tea flavors, and more traditional chocolate (custard) flavors, are labor intensive but usually can’t be done that far in advance without risking the flavors getting too bitter.
If you want a coffee or tea ice cream, note that it requires raw solid materials, to be brewed in milk or cream overnight. The best we can hope with the pre-made wet mixes is a sorbet, which isn’t all bad. You need to bring cheesecloth to strain the mixture afterwards, the folks who always make tea & coffee ice creams probably DON’T have enough to spare.
If you want a Chai flavor (and nearly everyone does), get a dry mix, not a pre-mixed with water variety, such as the ubiquitous Oregon Chai boxen. The water weakens the flavor and the consistency. If water-chai shows up this year, we’re making it into sorbet, or beverages. No exceptions. (Better yet, you could make your own masala chai, as folks in India have done for years. Maybe even get JB to do it, since he’s the one who whines about Oregon Chai.)
Preparing flavors on site
Plan to prepare your pre-LN2 recipe almost entirely on your own.
If you have to peel 500 kumquats (although we PROMISE you that 500 is WAY TOO MANY), it’s ultimately up to you to find volunteers or otherwise peel them yourself. Luckily, volunteers aren’t hard to find, they can’t use the table for anything else until food and flavors are done for the night.
Conversely, if you’ve never made a batch of Baitcon Ice Cream before, volunteer to help with a Veteran’s flavor first. There are more and more experienced ice cream folks every year. Some of the best ideas happen when a “clue” wasn’t around. Don’t be shy about asking anyone who seems to be making a lot of flavors year after year.
Flavors that require the use of the stove
These need to be worked around the heavy food prep scheduling in the kitchen. There simply isn’t room for both groups to be active in the kitchen at the same time without psychodrama. Really.
But, some of the cooked recipes are *really* good (e.g.: chocolates, custards), so we work around it.
Assuming the recipe can’t be cooked too far in advance, (i.e. before your drive to Baitcon), the best, and probably, latest, time to do the cooking part of a recipe is on Friday night after the dinner hours. (Anything later might not get served until Sunday, since the recipe needs time to cool off as much as possible before LN2 mixing). If you know you’re bringing materials for this sort of recipe, let us know in advance so one of us can try to wait up and help you out. If you are not sure of whether your recipe requires cooking, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org*. If you have any recipe planned at all, let us know in advance, ok?
And some of the flavors were… Bizarre
People are weird. You can’t 100% certain whether or not a flavor will work. If you want to try something because it’s a pun or a great conversation piece (“I went to this party where they made Candied Yak Intestine Crunch Ice Cream”) but otherwise likely to fall into the truly yucky* category, then it should be a tiny batch.
Thanks to the presence of different sizes of storage cartons, and LN2, tiny batches are possible.
It is likely that if someone made a Latvian Pine Tar sorbet, three ex-Left Bank consultants would succeed in daring three other ex-Left Bank consultants to try it, (while three other ex-Left Bank consultants simply shook their heads and walked away. There is probably a horrible flavor that would be an FTP in-joke, but that’s before my time and… it was probably done at Baitcon 5). However, that adds up to exactly three small spoonfuls.
Hence, that is exactly how much should be made. (Astonishingly enough, this is exactly three small spoonfuls larger than should be any batch of “Candied Yak Intestine Crunch” or “Durian Delite”.)
Don’t assume you need a double batch
A few years ago, a relative newcomer to mixing wanted to try a spiffy avocado rum recipe. It sounded too small, so she doubled the mix. NEVER DO THIS.
No previously untried flavor gets a double batch.
While the avocado rum ice cream WAS spiffy to the half dozen of us who don’t squick at more savory ice creams, the other 70+ folks wouldn’t even try it.
Not everyone will try every flavor. The folks who do that tend to be in a holding pattern around the LN2 tank, since it’s much easier to try each flavor as its made over the weekend than during the planned dairy/sugar overloads.
Even good flavors can be turned down
Even traditional flavors often get reduced because people want to make variations. This happens when six different people bring six top shelf varieties of, say, coffee. Sure, great flavor, but, we still can’t use six different full batches, not unless we add some other flavoring to most of them.
In 2001, we had to resort to Flavor Triage. We are rapidly exceeding the numbers of flavors our tank of LN2 can handle. Some couldn’t get made. Laurie brought a nice cheesecake recipe, but the LN2 set-up had been shut-down before it was mixed. (Another way to help reduce the LN2 need is to chill your flavor as much as possible before mixing. If the “clues” forget, remind them.)
If you do bring a perishable ingredient, make sure it’s consumable in some way other than ice cream/sorbet. I brought a box of milky way darks, for a known favorite flavor, but there were more than enough chocolately and mix-in flavors, so it didn’t get made. It happens. We ate the candy bars instead.
But perhaps if you contact us in advance, your flavor will get some level of priority.
Well, it’s worth a try.
The rest of this page is a table.
The Flavor Breakdown
|Sorbets, Soy/rice/coconut based “Creams” (Vegan)||Low Fat Dairy (Sherbets, yogurt, etc) & Non-vegan sorbets||Ice Cream|
|It’s Not Baitcon without…Known Baitcon favorites||Donna’s Sorbets: (at least 2, including: Lemon, Strawberry, Meta Pahl’s Cranberry Sorbet, Kiwi Ice) Laurie’s Raspberry Sorbet||Marc’s Zesty Lemon Sorbet||French Vanilla”Yucky” ChocolateAmaretto CreamThai TeaAllon’s Coffee/EspressoLemon *Ice Cream*Coconut Lime Habenero
Pineapple Sour Cream
Banana Raisin Ice Cream Kluge
|All Caps YUMFlavors we’d like to see more often, if we can||Kiwi Wasabi Ginger Lime SorbetBissap
Ginger Sorbet/Dark & Stormy
Raspberry Zerbit (w/Zima, the carbonation is key)
|Orange Milk SherbetMango Frozen Yogurt
Deep Raspberry Sherbet
Cranberry Orange Sherbet
|Ibarra/Mexican chocolateChocolate Orange/Creamsicle Crunch
Chocolate Cherry/Zamboni Spumoni/Black Cherries Jubilee
Chocolate Almond/Chocolate Amaretto
Almond Cookie Dough/Amaretto Cream/Anisette Almond
Malted Milk Ball/Caramel Whopper
Hazelnut Ovaltine, U-Bet-Cha Chocolate Malt (or any variation on malted, non-beer, ice creams)
Cinnamon Peanut Butter Malt Ball
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip/ Peanut butter
Rabid Foaming Maple, Maple Peanut Butter Cup
Mascarpone Cinnamon/Mango Cinnamon/cinnamon
Three Fruit Medley
Strawberry Sour Cream
Peach/Flying Purple Peach
Chocolate Raspberry/ Raspberry Cream
Blueberry Honey Mint /Blueberry Swirl/Blueberry
Wafer Thin Mint/Chocolate Peppermint/Peppermint Chocolate Chip
(Vanilla/Coffee) Milky Way Dark
Chai (Although I’d like to see this in a soy)
|Lower case yum Flavors 3 of us really like, so we make small batches||Chocolate SorbetRoot Beer Sorbet
Pinot Noir Granita
Anything with Lychee
|Nathan Says Hi (usually Lychee with something purple, Ribena, pomegranite…)Carmelized Onion
Mackeson’s XXX/Youngs Dbl Chocolate
Avocado/Clover Honey Avocado
|Um?Flavors I haven’t had enough feedback on||Cherry SorbetCoconut Mango Rice
Cantalope Strawberry Sorbet
ASCII (Almond Saffron Cardamom)
Green Apple Sorbet
Chocolate Cardamom Sorbet
Minted Honeydew Sorbet
Strawberry Chamomile Sorbet
Kiwi Ribena Ice
pinapple zima zorbet
|Orange SherbetApple Grape Frozen Yogurt||Cinnamon BeetSassafras
Amy’s Apple Pie
Instant Saffron Orgasm (aka ISO Ice Cream)
Saffron Cardamon Pistachio
Scottish (Whiskey Toasted Oatmeal Strawberry Swirl)
Tutti Fruity Fruitcake
Flavors that haven’t worked in the past
|Savory Onion SorbetBalsamic Apple
Porscht (Port Beet)
|Buttermilk “Sorbet”||Pear HorseradishRunny Bunny (Carrot Caramel)
Lavender Chocolate Chip
Peppermint Sticky (aka “Crest”)
Double Horesradish Chocolate Swirl
|New ideasTo boldly go where no (Baitcon) flavor has gone before||MulberryNon-Dairy Vanilla
Mounds (Almond Joy’s got nuts)
Mimosa (champagne & orange)
|LassiLactaid Chocolate Milk||HorehoundCandied Violet or Rose
Coffee with beans home roasted by someone we know
(All the Gashlycrumb Sundae Flavors?)
As a reward for reading through this whole thing, I’ll let you in on one of the worst keep secrets of Baitcon Ice Cream. If a flavor is labelled “Yucky” it is probably so good we’re hoping there’ll be leftovers. Sometimes we’ll circulate rumors to the effect of “I think I saw some moths fly into it”. A suspicious number of regular attendees have developed a preference for the mothy ice-cream.
However, if it’s called “Candied Yak Intestine Crunch”, it’s gross and you don’t want any. *wink*