Like many iconic foodstuffs, Big Gay Ice Cream’s signature cone, the “Salty Pimp,” was born of a bit of a dare. “Really we had the ingredients, between the toppings that came with the standard soft serve ice cream truck and the stuff we brought on ourselves,” says BGIC’s co-founder Doug Quint, “and one day a customer pressured me into making it happen.”
One taste and they knew they had a hit on their hands, as Quint remembers it: “That’s the one that’s going to put the dog through college. It’s definitely the signature and there’s no way anything will ever top it and I’m perfectly happy with that.”
The Salty Pimp is simply vanilla soft serve sprinkled with sea salt, spiked with dulce de leche, and topped with a chocolate shell. Take a cue from Chowhound’s Joey Skladany and opt in for a rainbow sprinkle crown. Especially when one might want to recreate this particular treat for at-home celebrations of Pride 2020.
With help and encouragement from Quint, as well as Big Gay Ice Cream’s memoir/cookbook, getting a Salty Pimp in your life this month (and forevermore) is within your sticky-fingered reach.
Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats Cookbook, $25 on Amazon
A cookbook, a yearbook, a handbook.
How Big Gay Ice Cream Began
I learned about Big Gay Ice Cream circa 2011 back in its food truck days, from noneother than my Midwestern parents. Inspired by something she’d seen on food TV, my mom had us camped out one afternoon in New York City’s Washington Square park, refreshing Big Gay Ice Cream’s Twitter feed until we found out where they’d be stationed for the evening.
This was during, as Quint called it, the zeitgeist of food trucks on Twitter, when NYC was hitting its stride with food truck fever: “Some people showed up at the ice cream truck and said ‘I can’t believe this is really real.’”
Nothing so well summarizes what we found in Big Gay Ice Cream that day as the word “treat.” From behind you’d not differentiate the truck from your typical soft serve outfit. The front was an over-the-rainbow experience: emblazoned with its now-iconic rainbow cone, the frozen goodies themselves were an exercise in that which is “unapologetically old school”: soft serve with upgraded but recognizable dips and sprinkles, and with an added dose of hedonism and fun. Among them the Salty Pimp, but also similarly styled brethren and sistren such as Dorothy (Zbornak, not Gale), Mermaid, Rocky Roadhouse and others.
The brand is now beginning its second decade, having birthed not only several brick and mortar stores, but also a line of pints and its aforementioned book: “Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream.”
The book is part memoir, part yearbook, part life coach, (or is that just me?) and part cookbook. Best of all, you can find all of the components necessary to make your very own Salty Pimp, still effortlessly everything you want in a hand-held dessert.
The Keys to Making a Salty Pimp at Home
Three simple recipes included in the book are what’s needed for your recreation, and lest you think an ice cream machine is required, the chapter on ice cream begins with a pep talk: “All you need to make ice cream at home is a sense of adventure (and lactose tolerance).” Cheater Soft Serve Ice Cream, with no soft serve machine required, utilizes store bought vanilla and whipped cream blended together for a perfectly twistable outcome.
Next, dulce de leche, or “caramel’s milk based cousin.” A helpful technique from Quint: Get a squeeze bottle. “The squeeze bottle is great because you can stripe it on the outside, and then really jam it into the ice cream.”
7-Pack Plastic Squeeze Bottles, $17.99 on Amazon
For many purposes, but especially for jamming dulce de leche into your ice cream cones.
Finally, “Magical Shell,” a seriously upgraded version of ice cream truck chocolate dip utilizing olive oil. (Most hard-coating chocolate dips utilize coconut oil.)
Assemble your own Pimp by anointing the inside of the cone with some dulce de leche and sea salt, topping with ice cream, spiking with the dulce de leche, then salting the whole thing (just do it), and dipping or coating with chocolate shell.
Related Reading: Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping Is Actually Easy to Make at Home
Joy Ice Cream Cups, 24 Ct. for $16.99 on Amazon
Don't forget your Salty Pimp containment units.
With Quint’s blessing, feel free to improvise with store-bought ingredients, but with one strong suggestion. Don’t leave out the salt, and don’t skimp on the quality there: “You can get conventional chocolate shell, you can get caramel or dulce de leche, but if I’m going to make it at home, I would use Maldon, really high quality finishing salt.”
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, 2 8.5 oz packages for $12.95 on Amazon
To put on your ice cream, and anything else edible in your life.
“Salty chocolate is great. Salted caramel is great. And you add it together and it’s kinda great,” encourages Quint. “We had a few customers that would request it without the salt, but it was always my standard at the truck to say, ‘Here’s the deal, I’m going to make it the way it’s supposed to be, and if you don’t like it, I will make you anything else for free, but if you do like it, you have to settle up.’ I always got paid. I won every time.”
Related Video: How to Make Mason Jar Ice Cream with Just Four Ingredients
Header image courtesy of Donny Tsang/Big Gay Ice Cream.