Deep fried ice cream may sound bizarre but it actually works. The ice cream doesn't melt because the filo-pastry puffs up, creating layers of air which act as a really good insulator, protecting the ice cream from the heat of the oil.
Deep fried ice cream is actually an Americanized Mexican dessert. It is made by taking a scoop of deep-frozen ice cream - frozen below the standard 0 degrees F at which ice cream is generally kept, possibly rolling it in eggs, then rolling in cornflakes or cookie crumbs, and then briefly deep frying - the super-low temperature of the ice cream prevents it from melting while being fried. Finally it might be sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
The easiest fried ice cream recipe is to scoop the frozen ice cream into balls, place onto a non-stick baking tray, and put back into the freezer until ready to wrap in pastry. You need to make sure that the fat fryer is really hot when you put the balls in, about 190 degrees C; otherwise the warm oil soaks into the filo before it gets a chance to expand into layers. Then the ice cream may melt, and you also end up with a really oily mass. Pre-heat the deep fat fryer to 180 degrees C. Cut out squares of filo pastry. Take a square, lightly brush with egg wash and scatter with toasted nuts. Repeat the process twice more, then layer up all three squares.
Take an ice cream ball and wrap in the layered filo. Place immediately into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove and drain onto a plate with kitchen paper. Repeat quickly, but carefully with each ice cream ball. Deep fried ice cream also made when an ice cream ball is rolled in coconut and cornflake crumbs, deep-fried then rolled in graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon and sugar; placed in a fried tortilla shell, then topped with hot fudge or caramel or strawberry topping and whipped cream.
Deep fried ice cream is commonly found at Mexican food chain restaurants in the United States - El Torito or Chi-Chi's, and fairs and carnivals. Fried ice cream has become a common dessert served in Japanese restaurants. The recipe at such restaurants is slightly different, in that tempura batter is usually used instead of cornflakes or cookie crumbs. Baked Alaska is a dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven just long enough to firm the meringue. The meringue is an effective insulator, and in the short cooking time needed, it prevents the heat getting through to the ice cream.
The American physicist Benjamin Thompson introduced the use of meringue in 1804. He investigated the heat resistance of beaten egg whites; the results demonstrated that while pastry would conduct the heat to the ice cream, beaten egg whites would do so to a lesser extent. The title "Baked Alaska" was introduced in 1876 in honor of the newly acquired territory of Alaska. It was popularized worldwide by the in 1895 at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.
Deep fried ice cream and baked ice cream deserts are really unique treats that are very much fun to eat!