Over Yonder Ice Cream: A Taste of Nostalgia 

Single-serve gourmet ice cream — and nostalgia.

Remember those little cups of hard ice cream you ate with a flat wooden spoon at parties when you were in grade school?

So does Schuyler O'Brien. He created "over yonder. delightfully crafted ice cream," which he serves in 3.5-ounce individual containers with wooden gelato spoons. And the ice cream is soft.

The ice cream is available in the nitro coffee floats at Low Fi Coffee inside Stock & Belle on South Main on Trolley Night, which is held the last Friday of every month. O'Brien plans to eventually sell the containers at Low Fi, but, for now, they can be purchased in quantities of 25 or more through AMF (A Moveable Feast) Catering, where he's chef de cuisine. "It's a brand of AMF right now, but I make every single batch," O'Brien says.

click to enlarge Schuyler O’Brien - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Schuyler O’Brien

O'Brien, 29, began making the ice cream 10 years ago. "Same exact recipe," he says. "This started when I was in culinary school and I made ice cream for the first time."

He made it in his advanced baking and pastry class at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Florida. "I had always seen people make ice cream, but it's like American ice cream, where you just mix sugar and milk and whatever. Well, what I do is a classic French-style ice cream. So it's actually a stirred custard. The base is heavy cream, whole milk, and then egg yolks and sugar."

It's a crème anglaise — a "classic French sauce" if you don't freeze it, O'Brien says. "Then once you freeze it, it becomes the ice cream. It's a super old-school way to make ice cream, but there's so much labor put into it."

O'Brien continued to make ice cream after he graduated and worked at Capriccio Grill at The Peabody, Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, and Catherine & Mary's, where he was sous chef.

"I've had three ice cream machines, all of them the home commercial ones that have the compressor in it," he says. "Not the ones where you have to freeze the bowl. It's a pretty big investment for me to just do as a hobby, to have an ice cream machine, but I would always have [ice cream] in the freezer."

The base is the same, but O'Brien adds different ingredients for the flavors. Among them are a Tahitian vanilla, which he did for Low Fi. "And then I make a goat milk caramel sauce," he says. "It's like a tangy caramel sauce made with goat milk. And I swirl the goat milk caramel into the vanilla."

The container idea dates to his childhood. "We would go to Huey's back in the day, and you'd get a kid's meal and they'd give you — I think it was — Klinke ice cream. That has somehow stayed in my head," O'Brien says. "We could sell pints or even larger containers, but just having that little single-serve, this little bit of ice cream, it's got nostalgia to it."

His wooden spoons are concave, but they're flat on the bottom so all the ice cream can be scraped out of the container.

The ice cream in containers are popular at catering events. "We passed them out when we were cutting the cake for this wedding, and people lost their minds," he says. "They thought it was the coolest damn thing — that they're getting these little gourmet ice creams with the cake."

As for the name, O'Brien wanted something "that was kind of Southern and kind of had some feel to it."

"Over yonder" with the "delightfully crafted ice cream" tagline "just feels good," he says.

O'Brien also is in graduate school in the hospitality program at the University of Memphis. And he's assistant to the director at the Kemmons Wilson Culinary Institute at U of M.

He's always coming up with new ideas for over yonder. ice cream. "The possibilities are endless," he says. "And no one is really doing this single-serve-type thing."

And, O'Brien says, "Next summer, I want to have three or four of those little carts and just roll out there, sell these little portions."

To order over yonder. ice cream, call AMF Catering at 522-9453.

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