The Small-Batch Ice Cream Ideal for Unconventional Foodies
Saugerties Ice Cream Maker Julian Hom wants his customers to take the road less traveled. After all, only when they veer off Partition Street will they wind up at Alleyway Ice Cream, the bitty shop that Hom opened inside an 80-square-foot supply closet at the end of a narrow lane.
The choice of location came from necessity — zoning regulations prevented him from operating a roadside cart — but Hom doesn’t mind. The space is just the right size for him to craft the small-batch, unconventional ice creams for which Alleyway is known. Using top-of-the-line ingredients like Madagascar vanilla and strawberries he roasts himself, he churns out four quarts at a time. From start to finish, the process to make one batch totals three days and includes a five-hour cook time, plus 12 to 24 hours of refrigeration. That might sound like a lot of effort for a small payoff, especially in comparison to big-batch freezers that produce 40 quarts of ice cream at a time, but the difference is truly in the taste.
“I experiment with the amount of sugar, fat, and flavor for every single ice cream,” Hom reveals. In fact, the science of ice cream is part of why he enjoys his craft so much. As he alters the quantity of one ingredient or another, he creates batches that are 100-percent perfect every time.
Take his Madagascar vanilla, for instance. A deceptively complex ice cream, its development led Hom to collect vanilla beans from India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, and Tahiti to find the flavor profile he craved. From there, he tested meticulously to perfect the recipe he uses to this day.
“With vanilla alone, I’ve tried dozens of variants. I’ll add and subtract the amount of each ingredient in one-percent increments until the ice cream is perfect,” he says.
While Alleyway’s vanilla and Belgian chocolate remain staples at the shop, which operates seasonally from early spring to late fall, the bulk of its flavors are whimsical concoctions that rotate weekly. On any given day, Hom could scoop up black sesame caramel, Monkey Bread, or even Wildfire, a daring medley of wintergreen, habanero, and smoked almonds. He serves them all in cones and cups or — for those who just can’t decide — in the six tiny cones that make his ice cream flight. Because variety is the spice of life, right?
135 Partition St, Saugerties