“The Fourth Flavor”: a plated dessert

If you have ever watched Codename: Kids Next Door, you would totally get the reference here. If not, let me explain. According to that cartoon’s lore, there are three main flavors of ice cream, being vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. But there was also a legendary fourth flavor that was said to taste even better than the other three combined. The show depicted it as this golden brown color, so I assumed it was something like caramel or butterscotch. But there was a video on Youtube that speculated it was actually lucuma. Lucuma is a fruit from Peru that tastes just like caramel, so that is not too far off from the original assumption of it being butterscotch or caramel-flavored. And lucuma is actually a popular ice cream ingredient over there, so this is not too far-fetched of a theory either! For my recipe, I wanted to pay an homage to the Fourth Flavor, but also adding a few fun twists to it as well. I am using lucuma, caramel, and butter throughout the entire dessert. And since I wanted to enter this in ChefRoll’s Ritz cracker competition, I figured, why not use Ritz crackers as a thickening agent, and in several textural components as well? Ritz crackers were a large part of my childhood, having eaten them all the time as a kid in Taiwan, randomly enough. Since they have a buttery flavor, using them in this kind of dessert will only evoke a stronger butterscotch-type of flavor throughout the entire recipe!

For the components, we have a lucuma-Ritz cracker ice cream, using brown butter to tie in that butterscotch flavor. I am also making a caramel lace tuile with the Ritz crackers to put on top(before somebody says anything, these are NOT sprinkles or jimmies, so it is not “tainting” the ice cream like how the Delightful Kids did on the show), a lucuma butterscotch, and a Ritz-lucuma crunch to finish. This dessert is four components, being ice cream, crunch, tuile, and butterscotch, but between the four, you really get all of the different textures you would want in something that is so caramel-forward – crunchy, creamy, gooey, and snappy. I also finished it off with some gold leaf as well, just to further emulate the opulence of this legendary Fourth Flavor.

For the lucuma-Ritz cracker ice cream:
1.5oz Ritz crackers
1oz lucuma powder
2oz brown butter
8oz milk
3oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum*(can omit, but I prefer it as a binding agent for the ice cream)

Blend everything together until fully combined. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Churn in an ice cream machine for 20 minutes, then freeze for another hour before attempting to scoop.

For the Ritz cracker lace:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp corn syrup
a pinch of salt
1oz Ritz crackers

Heat up sugar, corn syrup, and salt until golden brown. Lay out your crackers on a piece of parchment or a silpat. Pour the caramel on the crackers and cool down until set. Place into a food processor or spice grinder and blend into a fine powder. Dust the powder through a sieve onto either parchment or silpat to form a solid layer of the powder. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Cool down completely before snapping into smaller pieces and storing in an airtight container.

For the Ritz-lucuma crunch:
2oz Ritz crackers
2oz all-purpose flour
1oz lucuma powder
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Mix together to form your dough. Separate into pinkie nail-sized pieces and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool completely before breaking into smaller pieces.

For the lucuma butterscotch:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp lucuma powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk

Heat up sugar until golden brown. Take off heat and add in the butter, lucuma, salt, and milk. Stir until combined.

For plating:
Gold leaf

Start with two tablespoons of the crunch on the bottom. Place on top of that either a quenelle or scoop of the ice cream. On the side, do a large circle of the butterscotch. Finish the top of the ice cream with shards of the Ritz lace and optionally, gold leaf.

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