My family wasn't big on dessert growing up. To some Filipinos, sweets are seen as an unnecessary luxury; worrying about food scaricity is just something that never leaves you, I think. My grandma saves every single bit of food even though she doesn't necessarily need to. Forever. I remember opening the refrigerator when I was little, delighted to find tin foil balls of mystery leftovers from probably years ago, or repurposed cool-whip containers filled with sinigang that had congealed into a pale white version of itself. When left unsupervised, I would conduct frankenfood science experiments with the old food and condiments until my grandma inevitably discovered what I was doing and bellowed me out of the kitchen for wasting food. It didn't matter that nobody would ever eat it, throwing food away was insulting. For the most part, food that didn't serve the purpose of sustenance was considered a frivolous waste of money. Except for one thing and one thing only.
My grandparents would come into the kitchen every night, take Thrifty drugstore brand pistachio ice cream (always Thrifty brand, always pistachio) out of the freezer, set it down next to a loaf of store-brand white bread, take a slice out, plop honking scoops of ice cream onto the bread, fold it, then eat it like it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. An ice cream sandwich, quite literally.
"This is how they eat ice cream in the Philippines, they sell it on the street for just a few pesos" my grandma would tell me, as I watched them eat the white bread ice cream sandwich with a mixture of trepidation and confusion. I had never seen anyone eat ice cream like that (not even anyone else in my family other than them), so I thought they were just being weird.
Turns out, she was telling the truth. In the Philippines, Sorbetes (commonly nicknamed "Dirty Ice Cream") is a cheap way to cool down in the suffocating heat and humidity that is the Philippines. Vibrantly painted wooden pushcarts are rented from warehouses that also sell milk, sugar, and any other ingredients that sorbetes peddlers need, and throughout the day the sorbeteros ding-ding-ding their way through busy streets and neighborhoods providing sweet relief from the heat.
Oh, in case you are grossed out by its name, I should probably tell you that the "dirty ice cream" nickname has nothing to do with sorbetes being sanitary or not, it's just a name that stuck when big ice cream companies tried to spread slanderous claims about homemade sorbetes so that they could sell their products on the street instead. Often times, the stuff you can get from your local "Mamang Sorbetero" is better than store-bought ice cream in the Philippines, because its made with all-natural ingredients.
Sorbetes is not mind-blowingly delicious stuff in the way that say, gelato in Italy might be. But it is cold, creamy, widely available and most importantly -- incredibly cheap. Made with either coconut milk, regular milk, or Carabao milk, the flavors vary and change according to seasonal availability. You can count on unique flavors such as ube, avocado, mango, coconut, melon, or cheese; all of which you can get in a cone, in a cup, or inside of a soft white bread bun for the equivalent of about 10 cents.
After rejecting it for so many years, I eventually did try a sorbetes-on- bread sandwich, and really enjoyed the textural juxtaposition of cold, slightly nutty, and super sweet ice cream between the light, airy, and blank slate dullness (in a good way) that is white bread as we know it.
AVOCADO SORBETES SANDWICH
Great news: you don't need an ice cream maker for this recipe! I don't know why, but I have a mental block when it comes to buying an ice cream maker. I've been meaning to get one for about 10 years, but I just can't bring myself to do it (they aren't even that expensive!) Maybe I'm scared of what would happen if I was suddenly capable of making any frozen dessert, at any time? Well, if you're anything like me, rejoice, because you won't need a machine for this.
3 ripe avocados
2 tbsp. calamansi juice or lime juice
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
Hawaiian bread rolls
1. Slice avocado, remove pit, and scrape the flesh out with a spoon into a large bowl.
2. Add the calamansi or lime juice, heavy cream, condensed milk, and salt.
3. Mix with an electric mixer until avocado is smooth and incorporated, and no chunks are left.
4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour.
5. Take mixture out of freezer and mix again with electric hand mixer until smooth.
6. Freeze for another hour, and mix again with electric hand mixer until smooth.
7. Return mixture to freezer. The sorbetes should be ready after an additional 2 hours in the freezer.
8. Scoop sorbetes into a hawaiian bread roll. A 3:1 sorbetes to bread ratio is usually the perfect amount.