Liquid nitrogen ice cream
If you’re looking for a way to draw crowds this summer—and all year round for that matter—liquid nitrogen ice cream may be the answer you’re looking for. Dunia Borga, pastry chef and co-owner of La Duni Latin Café’s four locations in Dallas, TX, stumbled onto this growing craze after her in-house photographer saw a chef making it while vacationing in Hawaii. Borga had been looking to incorporate ice cream into her product line, but traditional equipment would have burst her budget. Nitrogen-made ice cream proved to be not only more cost-efficient, but it also provided a way to custom-make ice cream fresh for each customer, while at the same time providing spectacular entertainment.
“I throw my ice cream base into my Kitchenaid mixer, put in a little nitrogen, and it comes into the most amazing, creamiest, incredible ice cream,” Borga says. “Within 5 to 6 seconds you have whatever flavor of ice cream you want.”
The idea at La Duni is that people will walk up to the bar and choose their base—yogurt, ice cream, soy milk, etc.—and then choose their flavor. “We will have some already made that we like, but they can also choose whatever they want and we will make it right in front of them,” Borga says.
Customers can also choose their own add-ins, as well as decide whether they want to put their ice cream on top of a cupcake or a brownie. “What I personally love adding are the caramelized pecans and hazelnuts that we make,” Borga says. “Normally when I throw them into my ice creams, the sugar breaks down while it’s churning and freezing and they get so soggy that you no longer have that deep, wonderful crunch. Well, with nitrogen, since you’re freezing it within a couple of seconds, you have that great crunch with the creaminess of the ice cream and it’s just incredible.”
And don’t let the dangers surrounding liquid nitrogen scare you off. “I was kind of paranoid about the whole thing. But then we found out through a friend of ours that is a dermatologist that it actually isn’t that dangerous,” Borga says. “If you hold it, it will burn you. But if you let it just fall off of you it doesn’t do anything. So you can put your fingers in it and everything and it just feels cold. Just don’t hold your fingers in there!”