Work in Progress – No. 2

Robin Boyle Dessert, Work in Progress

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We experiment often, trying new methods or recipes or trying to recreate something we have eaten somewhere or other. There are successes and failures, there is elation and disappointment, failure and triumph.

Eskimo Pies

We have probably all eaten the ice cream called Eskimo Pies, a chocolate coated block of vanilla ice cream, encased in a silver foil lined wrapper. Companies from around the world licensed the brand name. The Peters company website says: “Peters introduced Eskimo Pie into Australia in 1923 making it the oldest single ice cream in the Peters family still available today.”

Maybe the Eskimo Pie was the inspiration for the Eskimo Bar.

Snake River Grill Eskimo Bars

The Eskimo Bars made at the Snake River Grill, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were featured on TV in the series of short programs entitled The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Eskimo Bars.

From the video you will see the bars are made from a slab of chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. That is then chilled in the freezer, then cut into rectangles which are then dipped in chocolate to be chilled again. They are served with a hot caramel dipping sauce, which, according to the presenter, produces a messy but fabulous taste sensation, with your hands and face dripping with chocolate and caramel.

Olive’s Kitchen Eskimo Hedgehogs

After seeing the TV program, we decided to have a go at the Eskimo Bar. A search on the Internet will give various recipes for ‘Eskimo Bar’, which you could try, though we haven’t tracked down the original recipe from the restaurant.

We wanted quick results, with people coming for dinner the next night, so we improvised. Our first attempt looked nothing like a bar nor like a pie, so we called them Eskimo Hedgehogs. They tasted terrific, but there is still some work to do to produce neat looking bars as per the TV program.

We did not have enough time to make a slab of brownie nor make our own vanilla ice cream. We had some leftover dense chocolate mud cake and a small quantity of quality store-bought ice cream. The attempts to adhere the ice cream to the cake were somewhat of a tragedy, mainly because we had too little ice cream and the cake was too soft, not to mention that it was in a round shape and had to be cut horizontally to provide a thin enough layer. So we ended up with ice cream covered ‘shapes’ rather than ‘rectangles’. We froze them anyway, then spread the top with some green gauge jam, with the fruit bits chopped. (We also considered using apricot jam or marmalade). Back into the freezer. We then made some extra make-do ‘ice cream’ by combining some heavy cream and sour cream and a dash of vanilla essence, then whipping it to a firm consistency. We mounded some of that onto each frozen bar. Then back into the freezer. We thought that would give an OK result. We chilled them overnight to do the chocolate coating the next morning.

For the chocolate coating, we tested small quantities of coconut oil and chocolate in the ratio of 1 part to 3, but the coconut flavour was overwhelming. So we opted for our quick chocolate sauce recipe for the coating.

Quick Chocolate Sauce

– 150 g quality black chocolate, in buttons or small pieces
– 150 ml whipping cream

First melt the chocolate by itself in the microwave. Do this carefully, one minute at a time, then shorter bursts as required. (Or melt over a double boiler.) The chocolate does not have to be hot, just melted; stir a few times so that the unmelted bits just dissolve. Fold in the cream and stir well to obtain a consistent colour. Aim to produce a rich chocolate sauce that is easy to drizzle, and will not set solid too quickly. (The sauce can be refrigerated or frozen, and reheated carefully in the microwave. It can be thinned using a little milk or extra cream.)

We made double the volume of sauce in order to have enough to coat the hedgehogs. After dipping, we quickly sprinkled on some crushed roasted hazelnuts, then back into the freezer.

Caramel Sauce

There are many recipes for caramel sauce. Use your own favourite or search out one that you think will work. We made ours from granulated sugar (melted in a saucepan until the colour changed to light brown), to which we added butter, cream and salt. Working with sugar can be difficult: a less fraught method is to add a small amount of water to the sugar. For a somewhat more straightforward recipe see Jill Dupleix’s version here: Banana Bread with Salted Caramel.

When dessert time arrived, we reheated the caramel sauce in small ramekins in the microwave and dutifully served an Eskimo Hedgehog to each guest to dip into the hot sauce. Finger bowls and wet hand towels were called for.

Despite our rushed efforts in making it, the dessert received unanimous praise. When we get the chance, we will take our time to produce results that more closely resemble the original recipe. It is actually quite a complicated dish to make, with a range of techniques required: make a brownie, make ice cream, make a chocolate dipping sauce that provides a thin, glossy coating, and make caramel.

Contributions welcomed!

If you have been trying to perfect a recipe, we are happy to hear about your attempts, including the recipe, problems and successes (and good quality photos if you have any).