Ice Cream Brulee

Ice cream brulee dessert at McCrady's Tavern. Wade Spees/Staff 

Meet warm ice cream

On a sunny summer day, warm ice cream also is known as a puddle. But chefs with scientific bents have devised various ways to heat up ice cream without making a mess. Giapo, an Australian ice cream shop, this June (remember, that’s the start of Southern Hemisphere winter) introduced a hot hazelnut gelato that involves a hardened chocolate shell and precise temperature control. Another strategy, popular with bloggers, instead calls for methylcellulose.

Learn its backstory

“Hot ice cream warms you up to no end in freezing weather,” Roald Dahl’s sweets visionary, Willy Wonka, assured visitors to his factory. “Extremely useful in the winter.”

None of the ice cream treats currently on the market are hot enough to substitute for soup or a scarf. Yet the notion could prove extremely useful to ice cream producers, who annually watch their sales dip with the weather.

By the late 1800s, ice cream vendors were experimenting with deep-fried ice cream, a novelty which almost a century later became a hallmark of the Chi-Chi’s restaurant chain. But those treats were considered triumphs of texture, not refutations of the season. When Baskin-Robbins in March began sandwiching ice cream between warm cookies, it presumably was trying to allay customer fears of full-body chills. That same principle informs Taiyaki NYC, which in September started serving up soft-serve ice cream tucked into toasty Japanese fish-shaped cakes.

The real trick, though, is weaving together the ice cream and heat (or at least a suggestion of it.) For now, that requires a high-end pastry chef.

And order it here

McCrady’s Tavern, 2 Unity Alley, mccradystavern.com, 843-577-0025 (Ice cream brulee, $8)

-- Hanna Raskin

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

Eating all of the chicken livers just as fast as I can.