Mochi ice cream is a hybrid dessert that combines the textural delight of traditional Japanese glutinous rice flour dough—mochi—with chilly, sweet ice cream. Mochi has a mouthfeel somewhere between chewy and gooey—perfect for cheese lovers. The ice cream on the inside may be any flavor.
The treats have a relatively young history. Joel Friedman and Frances Hashimoto’s Los Angeles-based confectionary Mikawaya is generally credited with developing and popularizing mochi ice cream more than 30 years ago. Today, you can buy pre-made versions at places like Trader Joe’s, but if you want to create flavor combos all your own, assemble these desserts at home.
Makes 6 mochi ice cream balls, with ice cream to spare
- Small nonstick skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Blender or food processor
- Medium bowl
- Ice cream maker
- Rimmed tray or baking sheet, lined with parchment paper
- Microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber spatula
- Ceramic knife or dough cutter
- 6 paper cupcake liners
- 2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more to taste
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
- ¾ cup water
- 6 drops yellow food dye, if desired
- Cornstarch or potato starch, for handling dough
1. Sprinkle mango lightly with a pinch (or more) of sugar and cook in skillet over medium heat, stirring until tender, 7 minutes. Add additional sugar and lemon juice, if desired. Remove from skillet and puree until smooth. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ½ cup sugar, cream, and egg yolk.
2. Add mango puree to cream mixture, and chill to 40°F. Then, churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ready, roll 6 golf ballsized (about 2 tablespoons each) mounds of ice cream. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper and freeze until very firm.
3. Meanwhile, add rice flour to a microwavesafe bowl. Stir in water and remaining ½ cup sugar until smooth, and add food dye, if desired. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring well every 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
4. Dust a work surface with cornstarch or potato starch. Reheat rice flour mixture for 20 seconds and turn out onto prepared work surface. When mixture is cool enough to touch, divide into 6 portions with a ceramic knife or dough cutter. Quickly pull portions away from the dividing line as you cut.
5. With cornstarch-dusted fingers, shape each mochi portion into a ball, and then flatten into discs with your palm. When discs have cooled slightly, assemble the treats. Turn over one of the mochi discs, stretch it out, and create a depression in the center. Place a frozen ice cream ball in the center of the disc.
6. Gently pull opposite edges of the mochi up and over the ice cream, pinching them together where they meet at the top. If the covering is thicker than about 1/8 inch, trim some of the mochi to make it thinner. Once each ice cream ball is completely enclosed, place seam-side down in a paper cupcake liner. Freeze at least an hour, and remove 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving.