Book review – The Perfect Scoop

20 May 2011
Book review – The Perfect Scoop

The Perfect Scoop By David Lebovitz
Jacqui Samll, £14.99
ISBN 978-1-906-41754-3

This recipe book could easily be described as the ultimate ice-cream compendium for novices and professionals alike. Yotam Ottolenghi describes it as a "glorious, in-depth look into a scrumptious subject".

Lebovitz, a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and author of The Great Chocolate Book, has compiled hundreds of diverse recipes, and not just for ice-cream. Palate-cleansing sorbets such as pink grapefruit-Champagne and apple ginger precede mouth-watering granita flavours including mojito and espresso.

The opening chapter covers the basics: the perfect ice-cream custard followed by comprehensive notes about ingredients and equipment, sprinkled with top tips and useful asides. Then comes a dazzling array of flavours, from traditional vanilla to exotic saffron.

Like chocolate but looking for a more sophisticated variation? Try Aztec ‘hot' chocolate. Or perhaps Guinness-milk chocolate?

Many of the recipes would make delightful desserts in their own right, such as prune-Armagnac or zabaglione gelato, but Lebovitz suggests some beautiful pairings. The idea of Roquefort-honey ice-cream scooped over warm, baked pears and scattered with toasted pecans is divine.

The final chapter is dedicated to ice-cream ‘vessels' - Lebovitz shares cookie recipes for the perfect, most texturally balanced ice-cream sandwiches before moving on to the likes of cones, crêpes and meringue nests.

A recipe book as comprehensive as The Perfect Scoop is in danger of appearing like a text book. But the author's chatty tone avoids that risk with ease, particularly when coupled with inspiring photography of what can be produced with a few simple ingredients.

If you like this, try these:

Making Artisan Gelato: 45 Recipes and Techniques for Crafting Flavor-infused Gelato and Sorbet at Home
by Torrence Kopfer

â- The Ultimate Ice Cream Book
by Bruce Weinstein

â- Lola's Ice Creams and Sundaes: Iced Delights for All Seasons
by Morfudd Richards

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