Angel Betancourt is not one to back down from a challenge … especially one that takes place in the kitchen.
Betancourt, a third-year student at Tri-C’s School of Culinary Arts, took inspiration from his Puerto Rican heritage when considering his entry into this year’s Pierre’s Ice Cream Challenge. The end result was a delicious recipe for frozen dessert sandwiches using plantains and Pierre’s Sorbet. He named the recipe after a popular Boy George song when he thought it may have been a little too crazy.
“Boy George was such a crazy performer,” Betancourt said. “He was one of the voices of the 80s. I submitted my crazy recipe thinking, ‘this is not going to fly.’ It was with that thought in mind: ‘OK. You want an ice cream challenge? Here’s mine … I’ll Tumble for Ya!’”
Turned out, Betancourt’s recipe earned one of only five finals spots at this year’s Ice Cream Challenge, held at the Cuyahoga Community College’s School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.
One of the recipe’s key ingredients is the plantain, a larger, starchier member of the Banana family. Betancourt recommends purchasing them when they’re yellow to dark brown in color.
“You usually see the green ones, but there are some called ‘amarillos’ or ‘yellows,’” Betancourt said. “Those are very sweet plantains. They range from gold to black. If you see them at the store, you may go, ‘eww,’ but, actually, those make for a sweet plantain.”
Each plantain is sliced into ½-inch rounds, deep fried and dropped into melted chocolate. Each round is then sprinkled with a little kosher salt, topped with a small scoop of Pierre’s Mango Sorbet or Passion Fruit Sorbet. A second round is placed on the scoop of sorbet to make a sandwich, which is then coated in toasted coconut.
“I received a lot of help from Chef Kitty and Chef Maureen (Leonard), who are very inspirational,” Betancourt said. “Chef Kitty was there when it took so long to fry over 100 of those rounds (for the competition).
I’ll Tumble for Ya’
Pierre’s Ice Cream Challenge – October 2016
Submitted by: Angel Betancourt
Cuyahoga Community College
Hospitality Management Program – Culinary Arts
Yield: 6-8 servings
4 yellow to dark plantains
2 ½ cups of vegetable oil
1 bag coconut flakes
1 bag chocolate chips
Coarse Kosher salt
1 pint of Pierre’s Passion Fruit Sorbet
1 pint of Pierre’s Mango Sorbet
Heat two cups of vegetable oil in a frying pan or use a deep fryer. (Using a deep fryer assured that the plantains did not absorb too much oil.) Cut the tips of the plantains about an inch at each end. Take the plantain and with a sharp knife carefully cut the peel vertically and remove it. You should have a full plantain ready to cut in ½ inch rounds. Once the peel is removed, watch for “plantain strings” and remove those as well. Place six to eight rounds in your hot oil. Using a spatula or tongs flip each one after 2 minutes. Place them on a clean paper towel and, with the back of a large spoon or the flat of spatula, press down slightly and return them to your deep fryer or frying pan for 2-3 min. Fry your plantains until a golden hue appears on them, and perhaps some slight browning starts to form around the edges. Place the rounds on a parchment-lined sheet pan in your fridge.
Take a metal pot and fill it with water about ½ to ¾ up from the bottom. Place your chocolate chips and vegetable oil into a metal bowl. When the water starts to bubble, lower your heat to medium. Place your bowl over the hot water and stir your chips and oil with a metal spoon or spatula. Turn your heat off, drop your cold plantain rounds in the chocolate. After the rounds are coated with chocolate, use tongs to remove them and place them on a fresh parchment-lined sheet pan. A pinch of coarse kosher salt over all the rounds should sharpen their taste, and into your freezer they’ll go.
Place your coconut flakes on a sheet pan and toast them in a 350 F oven for about 3-4 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Evenly divide your chocolate covered plantain rounds, half for bottoms and the remaining half for tops. Prepare a small bowl of hot water, dip your melon baller in your choice of sorbet and quickly place a sorbet ball on half of your plantain rounds. Remember to alternate your flavors! Place another plantain round on top of the sorbet. Remove quickly to your freezer until your “sorbet sandwich” has hardened once again.
Finally, take your chocolate-covered plantain rounds with sorbet between them and cover them with your toasted coconut. Place in your freezer and remove about three minutes before serving them for dessert.
If your guests are not ready to tumble for ya’ after this, well, it’s time to get new guests!