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Gao Luk ice cream

Ever since we started our research, we have been eschewing trips to shopping malls in favour of confectionery supplies shops like Phoon Huat and Sun Lik. It was during one of an impulsive spree at Sun Lik that I bought a can of chestnut puree, thinking I could barter trade it for a Mont Blanc pen. . . . And so I was stuck with a can of chestnut puree and an idea for an ice cream flavor.

As with my usual spur of the moment forays into the kitchen, the chestnut puree ice cream turned out to be pretty underwhelming and the Chief Craftsman even commented that it had an aftertaste resembling that of tuna. OUCH! We concluded that since chestnut puree is a rarely used ingredient in local cuisine, most people may not be acquainted with the taste and hence react less favorably to the flavor. So the can of chestnut puree found its way to a secluded and unloved corner of the fridge, waiting for its moldy friends to ask it out for an excursion to the rubbish bin. That lasted till my mum started nagging about me wasting food.

An eureka moment hit me one day when I heard the words “Gao Luk” being hollered while making my way through the packed interchange. To the uninitiated, ie those born after 1990, Gao Luk was a popular snack in which the chestnuts are roasted with coffee beans, giving it a nice smokey aroma. You could imagine the delight on my mum’s face when I bought a 500g pack of Gao Luk home.

After painstakingly removing the chestnuts from it shells, the Chief Craftsman and I separated about 100g into two portions. One was to be infused with the milk together with the chestnut puree, while the other batch went into the oven after a nice honey coated bath. The addition of cream and eggs, and a nice swirl in the ice cream machine yielded an ice cream that was surprisingly..delicious! Gone is the tuna aftertaste, replaced with a strong chest-nutty aroma and a nice crunch coming from the honey coated Gao Luks.

My mum was happy to rediscover a familiar taste in the ice cream while my ears too were happy that her nagging has ceased.

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