At the turn of the century ice cream was still a novelty, and nearly every hotel menu had a "fancy ice cream" section that appeared in addition to the traditional dessert course. (Too bad that's fallen out of fashion.) Lalla Rookh was a booze-and-ice-cream dish named after a Thomas Moore poem. Chef Charles Ranhofer of the legendary restaurant Delmonico's in NYC served a version made by beating vanilla ice cream and rum with meringue as a punch, documented in his 1893 cookbook The Epicurean Part Two. Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer's 1913 book on ice cream calls for filling a glass with vanilla ice cream, making a well in the center of it, and filling it with a mix of rum and sherry. Our version closely resembles hers (only using Calvados). We also went with cookbook author Maida Heatter's inspired idea of capping the well of secret booze with a topping of freshly whipped cream.
Roxanne Webber is a former senior features editor at CHOW.com.