Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker
The third in a series on ice creams, custards and sorbets
Jim Berman CCI
About two-hundred years’ ago, I was a garde manger at fantastic trattoria in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While the humor of a French titled-cook in an Italian restaurant in the middle of the desert southwest isn’t lost on me, I had a great experience working for an often tyrannical chef/owner. At Julian’s, the chef was fanatical about quality and serving only the best food he could possibly create. We were not a fancy operation, but the quality of the menu and Chef’s maniacal obsession with faultlessness made the place a draw, especially among locals in a town ripe with easy targets for the masses of tourists. I was very young, not yet in my twenties, overzealous and a know-it-all. After a week, or maybe it was a day, I was no longer a know-it-all after Chef screamed/barked/showered me with pasta-laden spit at me for not properly cleaning the greens for caprino insalata. Learning began that day. So, with eyes wide open, I started to come into the restaurant in my off hours to watch, to learn and to stay out of the way.
One afternoon, Chef was making a sorbet for the evening’s dinner service, a daily function he, noticeably, enjoyed. I was playing the role of fly on the wall when a delivery arrived and he asked that I babysit the machine as it swirled the simple syrup and fruit into its frozen mass. That afternoon, the frozen aspect of dessert service became my responsibility for the rest of my tenure at Julian’s. I made custard, ice cream, sorbet and sherbet, all with the aid of the gleaming, stainless steel, frozen dessert machine. And under the watchful, and often unconvinced eye of Chef,
“Berman, don’t leave my damned machine dirty!”
“Berman! The damned timer stopped! Get the ice cream out of my machine before it freezes solid!”
“Berman! Use some marscapone in tonight’s damned ice cream. And don’t screw it up!”
At least, that is how I remember it. The profanity was much, much more… colorful, I recall.
His frozen desserts were always wrought with the garnish of overly (and overtly!) dramatic profanity and anger. But you couldn’t taste those parts in the finished product. Nope! I was merely another cog in and of getting the machine to do its magic and Chef used whatever grease he needed to do his devil’s biding. That machine and I had a symbiotic relationship; I kept her clean and she kept me alive.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to bring an ice cream machine into the arsenal. The good folks at ChefTalk had offered to equip our classroom/kitchen with an ice cream. So, like any frugal cook, I did some homework (i.e. googled) to interview the available candidates. My criteria? Durable. Fast. Fairly economical, under $2,000. Easily operated. I did what anybody would do purchasing a piece of equipment would do, as well. I read reviews, did some comparison shopping, looked on eBay for a cheaper version and made the best decision I could make with the information I had available. I decided on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker, shipped from Amazon.com for about $1200, although recently on sale for a little over $1000, shipping gratis.
When it arrived, I almost cried. Seriously. It was the machine from Julian’s. I simply had not recognized her in the pictures as I shopped. It was the machine that simultaneously almost killed me and brought me to culinary life. This machine and I had history and we needed to rekindle that nearly forgotten flame. Like a forbidden love that burns bright, at least for a while, this relationship was founded on questionable circumstances that parted in much the same way. This time, though, there will be no good-byes.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker is hefty, coming in at a not-so-svelte 71-pounds. For a machine that contains a condenser capable of freezing two quarts of mix into ice cream in less than 18 minutes while simultaneously churning the ingredients, heft is a good thing. It tells me the machinery is loaded with a formidable motor and chilling unit that will not be overly taxed under significant load. The mixing bowl is adequately sized to roil 64-ounces of product with space to allow for some expanse. The bowl has a spinning ‘blade’, locking nut and cover. Only three removable parts makes for easy re-assembly after cleaning, as well as the chance to only lose three pieces. As for cleaning, the bowl is hard mounted, meaning that it is not removable. Some of the product reviews I read mentioned this aspect of the Lello Musso as a drawback. It really is not a deciding factor in a commercial operation. Cleaning a piece of in-place equipment means taking the bucket of soapy water and sanitizer to the machine rather than tossing the dirty parts into a dishwasher. Start to finish, cleaning clocks in at about two minutes. Seriously. The exterior stainless is easily wiped down. I spend a few extra seconds to bring back her mirror shine because, well, she deserves it.
Operation is vital. We all have made equipment purchases that we regretted, either for home or in the shop. When, say, a bread maker has too many variables, either with functions (sometimes called features) or complex timing operands, the tool becomes less useful and more frustrating; and it is abandoned. The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker has but three controls; one for time, on/off for the mechanical operation of the churning blade and on/off for the freezing bowl. Out of the box, add two quarts of an ice cream mixture to the bowl, set the time and press the two buttons. Less than twenty minutes to finished product. The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker comes with a spade to remove the finished product and a very concisely written instruction book that doubles as a recipe guide, since the instructions take a sum-total of two pages.
Covered in mirror finish stainless steel, there is little question as to the commercial application of the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker. It is also perfectly suited for a serious home cook, as well. This is not the ‘toy’ ice cream maker that works with ice, salt and a hand crank. Rather, this is a ‘set it-and- forget-it’ powerful and sleek tabletop operator. Her lines are sleek and her whisper, enticing. You will be drawn in to make ice cream, frozen custards and sorbets much too frequently. Her hum is addicting and will make you regret getting involved with such a sultry vixen. But, you will love every moment of it.