Frozen treat named after Iowa State student from Slinger, Wis.

Phillip Sitter
Ames Tribune
Iowa State University senior Lucy Slizewski shows a new vegan frozen dessert flavor, "Slizewski Swirl," that's dark chocolate with cherry swirls at the university's Creamery on Friday, March 25, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Lucy Slizewski wants to work in the food industry — maybe in ice cream — so she's proud of the experience she gained in developing a new frozen dessert that's named after her and available at the Iowa State University Creamery.

"It's my legacy I'm leaving behind," said Slizewski, an Iowa State senior from Slinger, Wisconsin, who is studying culinary food science and nutrition science.

The vegan frozen dessert Slizewski made can't be called ice cream like some of the other products at the creamery because vegan ice cream would be a misnomer — to be vegan, something has to be free of ingredients that came from animals, and that would include dairy.

"Slizewski Swirl" — dark chocolate with cherry — still hits the familiar notes when it comes to texture and taste despite being a plant-based imitation of ice cream, and she said it tends to stay frozen a bit longer than ice cream.

The Ames Tribune reports that Slizewski's diet is vegetarian, not vegan, but she knew she wanted to create a dessert that's accessible to more people and that's what she set out to do through many hours of test kitchen development and consumer trials.

Hummus for failure, sweetness of success

"Going into it, I knew nothing," Slizewski said of the process of developing Slizewski Swirl, which became available for sale March 21 in pre-packaged containers.

She's been working at the creamery — located on the second floor of the Food Sciences Building on campus — for about two years, and her work on what would become her namesake dessert, the first named after a student on staff, was part of an internship.

Iowa State University senior Lucy Slizewski shows a new vegan frozen dessert flavor, "Slizewski Swirl," that's dark chocolate with cherry swirls at the university's Creamery on Friday, March 25, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Slizewski said her family grew up as huge ice cream fans — her favorite flavors include chocolate, peanut butter and lavender — but she wanted to create something that's non-dairy and accessible to anyone with an allergy to eggs.

The basic ingredients for her frozen dessert include coconut milk, pea protein powder and sunflower oil. She had to develop an understanding of those ingredients and how they're different than dairy as she went along.

One experiment with chickpea powder backfired in an unexpected way. She ended up with a dark chocolate hummus instead of a dessert, but she took it home and ate it with some strawberries.

She estimated she put about 100 hours into development and had 10 or 15 trials, including two consumer taste test panels.

Success — with the final touch being the addition of the same cherry filling that's part of the creamery's "Human Sci Sweet Cherry Pie" custard — has led to a first batch of 200 pounds of mix being made, which Slizewski said is enough for about 200 smaller cups and 50 larger ones.

She does not work in the creamery's storefront, but said that her flavor has been well-received.

She does not get a cut of each sale of Slizewski Swirl. She expects the flavor will continue to be available as long as it sells — even after she graduates in May.

She had not yet seen someone walking around campus with a cup of her namesake dessert in hand, but said that would be a surreal experience if it does happen.

"It makes me really proud," Slizewski said of her accomplishment. She plans for her professional future to be working in food product research and development.