For Gulf Stream GC and Oakmont CC, small-batch, homemade ice cream is the perfect component for creative a la carte desserts.
Ice cream is a highly social and nostalgic sweet that members crave.It’s also the perfect canvas that lets club pastry chefs experiment and create upscale a la carte desserts.
At Gulf Stream Golf Club (Delray Beach, Fla.), Executive Pastry Chef Denisa Vaccaro prepares homemade ice creams, sorbets and gelatos as a component in many of her more complex a la carte dishes. Some are molded, while others are shaped into quenelles.
“Ice cream is refreshing and familiar,” says Vaccaro, who has been at Gulf Stream for two years.
Some of her most successful dishes that feature homemade ice cream include a Myers’s rum banana tart with a white-chocolate vanilla ice cream, a gingerbread torte with white chocolate chantilly and a pumpkin-spice ice cream (pictured below left), and a roasted peach served with a vanilla tarragon ice cream.
“At any given time, we will have up to seven flavors of ice creams and sorbets in the freezer,” says Vaccaro, who produces these confections with a four-quart machine located in her pastry shop.
Gulf Stream members also enjoy fruity, tropical sorbet flavors like coconut, pineapple, raspberry, mint, and mojito, as well as gelato.
“In season, we’ll do gelato spun to order, so it’s perfectly creamy for each member,” says Vaccaro. “We serve it with hot fudge.”
Instead of soft-serve, the members of Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club prefer bulk, hand-dipped ice creams that the club brings in from a local ice cream shop.
“We’re always trying to incorporate more local products, so when we began this partnership with Berki’s [the local shop], it fit right in with other things we’re doing here at the club,” says Kimberly Barcus, who has been Oakmont’s Pastry Chef for nearly four years. “We don’t have the means to make bulk ice cream, so this is a great way to satisfy that need.
“When it comes to specialty ice creams, we tend to get a little more creative, because we make those flavors ourselves,” she adds.
Two of Barcus’ current favorites include a mint ice cream that she makes by steeping copious amounts of fresh mint in heavy cream. She pairs the ice cream with a sweet, summery blueberry cake.
“It’s a really fresh and clean minty flavor, but it’s not overwhelming,” says Barcus.
Another popular a la carte dessert at Oakmont CC is an oatmeal-cookie sandwich, made with homemade cream cheese ice cream.
“Ice cream offers a blank canvas that you can transform into almost anything,” says Barcus. “There’s a lot of trial-and-error when I develop new recipes, but that’s part of the process. In fact, when I’m creating new desserts, especially in the summer, I generally start by deciding what ice cream we should make, and then I build from there.”