Ice Cream: Upscale

Ice cream gets the fine dining treatment.

The Deconstructed Creamsicle

How do you turn a nostalgic childhood treat into a complex fine-dining dessert? Rialto executive pastry chef Jonathan Posiko explains the thinking behind each ingredient in his strawberry-creamsicle pièce de résistance.

upscale ice cream boston

Photographs by Bruce Peterson, Styling by Molly Shuster

1. Macerated Strawberries

“It’s a strawberry creamsicle—you gotta get the strawberry in there! I macerated them mainly to impart more flavor and give it a little shine.”

2. Orange-Tarragon Marmalade

“I wanted to tame the sweetness of the orange with an herbal flavor. Tarragon complements both strawberries and oranges.”

3. Strawberry-Tarragon Gelée

“That was a preparation to give a nice, bright strawberry flavor, as well as a visual aspect with the bright red on the plate.”

4. Sugared Clementines

“Usually the orange provides a crusty exterior to a creamsicle, and I was playing on that by giving the clementine a crusty exterior—but when you bite into it, it’s soft and juicy.”

5. Cannoli Shell

“I always try to get something crispy into a dessert. I incorporated the shell as I thought of the creamsicle being in a tube, like a push-up pop.”

6. Strawberry-Orange-Mascarpone Ice Cream

“I decided to do something a little more Italian, and that was where the mascarpone came in. I flavored it with condensed orange juice to get the orange flavor into the cream.”

7. Chopped Pistachios

“Along with the mascarpone and the cannoli shell, this was a play on the cannoli, while keeping in line with the other flavors on the plate.”

8. Candied Fennel

“It gives the dessert some herbal, vegetal flavors instead of straight sweet. I always enjoy fennel at the end of the meal—it cools and aids in digestion.”

9. Dehydrated Strawberry Powder

“I dried strawberries and put them through a sieve. It’s one more textural difference.”

Ice cream is being put to thought-provoking and delicious use in some of the city’s other top kitchens, too. Here, how four pastry chefs are taking ice cream to the next level.

upscale ice cream boston

Via Matta
Porcini ice cream with a pine-nut tart and rosemary-lemon emulsion

Pastry chef PJ Waters infuses dried porcini mushrooms into ice cream for a flavor that’s at once malty, mapley, and mushroomy.

upscale ice cream boston

White-chocolate-strawberry ice cream with a wild-strawberry tart, basil emulsion, cheddar tuile, and rhubarb

For added sweetness, pastry sous chef Giselle Miller incorporates white chocolate into her strawberry ice cream.

upscale ice cream boston

Blackberry ice cream with “chocolate decadence” cake, blackberry coulis, angelica syrup, and sugar-honey tuile

Chef de cuisine Anthony Mazzotta uses summer-friendly blackberries for a creamy, tart accent to his ultra-rich cake.

upscale ice cream boston

80 Thoreau
Smoked bourbon ice cream with cherry clafouti, orange caramel, and sugar-cookie crumble

Inspired by Laphroaig whiskey and the Old Fashioned cocktail, pastry chef Katherine Hamilburg smokes ice cream and loads it up with bourbon.

Why does ice cream at high-end restaurants look like a football?

That pointed oval shape is a quenelle, a classic technique in pastry kitchens. “You have to practice a long time to perfect the technique,” says Giselle Miller, of Deuxave. “If the ice cream is too runny or hard, it won’t work. You have to have the perfect texture.”

Ice Cream for…Dinner?

Yes, ice cream has found a place in savory courses at some upper-echelon spots. These are a few unusual ingredients that have been turned into mind-bending ice creams around town.


Illustrations by Liz Noftle

From left to right:

Mustard | Puritan & Company

Chef Will Gilson uses mustard ice cream to accent a plate of swordfish pastrami.

Sweet Corn | Grill 23
Back Bay

Sweet-corn ice cream tops the lobster potpie at Jay Murray’s steakhouse.

Washed-Rind Cheese | Tres Gatos
Jamaica Plain

In a play on wine-and-cheese pairings, chef Marcos Sanchez serves Jasper Hill Winnimere ice cream with Manzanilla or Amontillado sherry.

Arugula | Journeyman

Chefs Tse Wei Lim and Diana Kudajarova turn the peppery green into ice cream for an amuse-bouche with salmon roe.

Want more?

Check out our complete summer ice cream package.