The Perfect Scoop - Cookbook Review
Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments
by David Lebovitz
(Ten Speed Press, 2010)
It is hard enough to resist sweets as it is. But David Lebovitz, award-winning blogger, cooking instructor and pastry chef who trained in Belgium and France, makes it virtually impossible with his originality and enticing twists on ice cream, granitas, sorbets, sauces, toppings and other sweet treats in his book, The Perfect Scoop.
Lebovitz includes every imaginable flavor, while using his experience and expertise culled from twelve years at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. His creations range from the traditional (vanilla ice cream, lime sorbet, or dulce de leche) to the exotic: goat cheese cleverly meets sugar, and he’s not afraid of Guinness Stout, Roquefort, olive oil, green peas, parsley and basil, either. Most ingredients are readily available at the local supermarket and most treats can be prepared in any home kitchen. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Many of the recipes are simple enough to put in a blender and then freeze in an ice cream maker while others need to be cooked in a saucepan.
Lebovitz also offers pairing suggestions. Saffron ice cream calls for a vanilla-poached quince while tangerine sorbet goes nicely with a mixed berry coulis. Every recipe comes with a little anecdote, story or introduction. We learn that Champagne-cassis granita was inspired by the classic Kir Royale, while fleur de lait has its origins in an ice cream shop in Paris.
As for saffron ice cream, he recommends it after a decadent Indian feast, sprinkled with rosewater and pine nuts. These little tidbits introducing each recipe make you feel like you couldn’t possibly go on living without black pepper ice cream. (Yes, it includes coarsely cracked pepper corns). Or buttered pecans, peanut brittle, and dark chocolate truffles. It’s easy to believe that Lebovitz has dreamed of owning an ice cream shop since he was a kid!
Reviewed by Deanna Mercurio