Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream
The Art of the Scoop
By Dana Cree (Clarkson Potter; $25)
Readers of Fine Cooking who geek out on our Food Science column will absolutely adore the debut book from pastry chef Dana Cree. A graduate of Penn State’s ice cream college, she gets into the thick (and creamy) of it, explaining how you can manipulate ingredients and methods to create ice cream just the way you like it. There are pages and pages about texture agents (from egg yolks to xanthan gum) as well as informative treatises on ice and air.
But even if science is not your thing, this book delights. The tone is direct and friendly, and the book includes both photos of the ice cream as well as stunning, whimsical watercolors that interact with photos to great effect. Plus, there are friendly drawings of sciencey stuff like crystals. But it’s the recipes, from basics like chocolate, vanilla, and coffee to the more unusual Cinnamon Basil, that seal the deal. Cree also covers Philadelphia-style ice cream (made without eggs and, unbeknownst to most, the prevailing style sold in the United States), sherbet, and frozen yogurt. A chapter on scrumptious add-ins (Plum Caramel, Pretzel Toffee Chunks, and Gooey Butter Cake) leads to a chapter on Composed Scoops that mix and match ice creams, swirls, and add-ins in glorious ways that take up too much room to describe here.
The ice cream recipes are written in a way that allows readers to go pro (using commercial stabilizers, glucose, and weighing ingredients to the gram) or work in a more homey fashion (using cornstarch and corn syrup, and measuring with cups and spoons). A minor quibble is that in some recipes, the aforementioned glucose is referred to as glucose syrup (they’re the same thing, apparently, but that’s not made clear), but since most readers will likely use one of the many glucose alternatives anyway, it’s not a big deal. With this book in hand, readers can make delicious ice cream and learn something along the way, too.