In today's Curious Cook column I write about ice creams that offer textural alternatives to the standard smoothness. One, fromage aux épingles, or "cheese with pins," is a 240-year-old French oddity; the other, salepi dondurma, or salep-thickened ice cream, is a traditional Turkish favorite.
Here's my translation of M. Emy's recipe for prickly ice cream, from his L'Art de bien faire les Glaces d'Office, published in Paris in 1768. Emy's alternative name for the dish implies that English ice creams were routinely coarse-textured.
Cheeses with pins, or in the English style
One calls these cheeses with pins, because the mix only receives a single freezing; one puts it liquid into the mold and freezes it without either moving or stirring it. This causes the parts to separate, the more watery part freezing first and making these fibers [filets] of ice, which one calls by the ice-maker's term "pins." One makes these cheeses with pins using all mixtures of fruits or uncooked creams that are served in cups, but never with cooked creams.
The way to make them. Prepare whatever mixture of raw cream or fruits you like; when it's ready, and above all not too rich, place in a cheese mold, then place this mold in well crushed ice, reinforced with salt or saltpeter. Leave it alone in this state for three or four hours without moving or stirring; just take care that it be well packed with ice. At the end of the time unmold it. One finds in these cheeses fibers of ice, which one calls pins.
The most readily accessible account of the stretchy, chewy Turkish dondurma is Eric Hansen's, at
In the column I describe making a version of dondurma with guar gum. The quantity I call for, one tablespoon guar per quart mix, is about 1% guar by weight. According to the papers noted below, the genuine version is made with about 0.8% salep by weight, and salep is between 20% and 60% glucomannan. So a half-tablespoon guar per quart mix would be a closer approximation to the gum concentration in Turkish dondurma.
Kaya, S. and A.R. Tekin, Effect of salep content on the rheological characteristics of a typical ice cream mix. J. Food Engineering 2001, 47, 59-62.
Farhoosh, R. and A. Riazi. A compositional study on two current types of salep in Iran and their rheological properties as a function of concentration and temperature. Food Hydrocolloids 2007, 21, 660-666.