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Jul 14, 2005 11:07 AM

More ice cream on the brain...what's the book with best variety?

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All this ice cream talk has me seriously considering buying a book. I haven't flipped through too many, but is there one that has a great variety of recipes? I want one with many different ice cream making processes that I can build off of. Examples:

-cooked custard
-non-cooked dairy based
-non dairy
-ice cream vs. gelato vs. sorbet vs. sherbet vs. Italian ice vs. slushie (margaritas, anyone?)
-different kinds/ratios of dairy
-cooked fruit
-raw fruit
-flavoring with extracts vs. oils vs. juices
-dealing with chocolate

I guess what I really need is the homemade ice cream bible. Is there a great book out there, or is this something we should look into writing?

Gorgeous photos are a BIG plus!

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  1. I wouldn't call it the Ice Cream Bible but I have been very happy with Williams Sonoma Ice Creams and Sorbets, especially chocolate and peach ice creams and tangerine and cantaloupe sorbets. All recipes have color photos and there are photo illustrations of equipment and techniques. I'd say most of the recipes are cooked custard ice creams, but also some sorbets, gelatos, granitas and sherbets.

    1. I've been thinking the same thing lately. I'd like to find one comprehensive resource to be able to refer to, written in the obsessively detailed style of Judy Rodgers or Rose Levy Berenbaum (I know her recipes get mixed reviews, but she's thorough!).

      ChowFun's (derek) link below got me snooping around Amazon, and so far "Frozen Desserts..." by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir sounds like what I'm looking for (see link). They are from the UK so some reviewers found it slanted in that direction. I like how they include both US and metric measurements though. It doesn't sound like just a collection of recipes. They seem to touch on the history and science behind it so that one can be better equipped to trouble shoot. Also provide international coverage of frozen desserts which I like. Anyone own this book and could speak to its merit? Thanks for any info.


      12 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover

        I have this, though I haven't had it for long enough to test a lot of the recipes. That said, I've had good success with the parfait recipe (and parfaits can be a bit tricky - I adapted the basic recipe to make a ginger version), as well as the buttermilk ice cream.
        And smokey seemed to like the chocolate recipe I posted.

        Overall, I would say this is a very good book. The history is great fun; the technical information fantastic. All measurements are given in U.S., metric and imperial, which every cookbook should do. My only complaint is that some of the choices of recipes seem odd. There are lots of great unusual recipes, but some very common things are left out. This isn't a huge problem for someone who is willing to do a bit of experimentation (substituting one berry for another, for example), but the book isn't the perfect frozen dessert encyclopedia it could have been. Oh, and a few ingredients might be hard to come by in the U.S.

        I would still definitely recommend it, though.


        1. re: curiousbaker

          Oh, no pictures. Charming illustrations, which personally I prefer, but I know that's a minority taste.

          1. re: curiousbaker

            Thanks, curiousbaker. Your endorsement of this book means alot. This sounds like what I'm looking for. Since I and others have been curious about gelato, do they cover that topic well and are there good recipes? I want to find a good gelato recipe that uses only whole milk and few (if no) egg yolks. If there's a good vanilla, fruit-based, or pistachio gelato recipe, I'd be forever grateful if you posted it for me to try out. Thanks!

            1. re: Carb Lover

              Your mentioning the pistachio made me think of a recipe I have for pistachio ice cream. It requires the use of pistachio paste which I was able to find on line. It is pretty simple, 6 egg yolks, 1/2 C. super-fine sugar, 2 C. whole milk 1/4 C. pistachio paste, and 1/4 C. peeled pistachios chopped.

              It is a pretty straight forward custard. Beat the yolks with 1 c. sugar until thick and creamy. Heat the other cup of milk with the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat add the pistachio paste and stir to dissolve. Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs whisking, then return to the heat and cook stirring until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Chill it well and then churn freeze, stir in the pistachios and freeze.

              After that I got to thinking how about marzipan ice cream? The same recipe should work with that Solo pure almond paste I use to make almond macaroons with and folding in some blanched, slivered toasted almonds at the end should be very good...then pair that with a very dark chocolate sauce.

              1. re: Candy

                Ooh! I did this last year, for a birthday dinner of a man who loves marzipan. I served with a cherry/almond cake topped with marzipan. It was very well received.
                Caveat - the texture was a little off. The almond paste stays a touch gritty in the ice cream - marzipan is not as smooth as most pistachio paste, or at least the pistachio paste I've used in the past. But I think a run through a fine chinois would fix that.


                1. re: curiousbaker

                  Why not just use almond extract? Is it just me, or does it taste just like marzipan?

                  Alternatively, perhaps using the powder from a package of almond jello mix? This is NOT made by Jell-0 brand jello, but can be found in most Safeways nowadays in the Asian aisle.

                  1. re: nooodles

                    I don't care for gelatin in ice cream, I don't like the texture. I find the almond paste flavor different from almond extract. The almond paste is bigger and rounder in flavor.

                    1. re: Candy

                      Another option is infusing milk or cream with ground almonds (ideally with a couple heat treated bitter almonds) and letting it steep until desired strength of almond flavor.

                      about 1/2 c blanched & pulverized almonds to a 1 c dairy. Infuse in warm dairy like tea. It's a soft, haunting almond flavor without the sharpness of alcohol in extract or sugar in marzipan. Works great in custards, panna cotta, blancmange.

                    2. re: nooodles

                      Nooodles, do you know of that almond flavor powdered drink they sell in packets in Chinese markets? I think it's supposed to have health benefits and you mix it with water, sort of malty almond flavor? I thought it was quite nice mixed with milk, wonder how it would perform in ice cream.

                  2. re: Carb Lover

                    Well, I looked up a gelato recipe, and stupidly left the book at home today. So I'll have to post it Monday.

                    But here's the scoop, so the speak. The gelato uses quite a few eggs, milk, sugar of course, no cream or gelatin or cornstarch. Essentially, it looks like a basic creme anglaise made with milk instead of cream. The lack of cream means less overrun and clearer flavor. But the eggs are there for richness.

                    I also noticed that this book does not emphasize gelato at all. There looks to be just one recipe (? I might have missed some). It's a little wierd, given that there are multiple recipes for parfaits, spooms, sherbets, sorbets, khulfis, granitas, popsicles and even a few recipes for frozen savory things, like a caviar ice. I suppose this is in part because if you're just making a straightforward custard ice cream without the cream, you can do that with any recipe. Replace cream with milk, continue with recipe.

                    How would a gelato without eggs or cream taste any different from a sherbet or ice milk? Do you dislike egg flavor, or are you looking to lower the fat content?

                    Sorry about forgetting the book, I'll bring it Monday and post.

                    1. re: curiousbaker

                      Thanks, curiousbaker. I'd appreciate the recipe whenever you get around to it. No biggie. I actually like egg yolks quite alot in my ice cream; however, I'd like to find a good recipe using whole milk and as few yolks as possible while still being creamy. It's partly for lower fat, calories, cholesterol, but also b/c I don't like being left w/ 6 egg whites each time. I know I can freeze and so forth, but I generally don't like freezing things. I also like the idea of milk and few eggs for economical reasons.

                      I was looking at some gelato recipes on EPI last night and may try the cornstarch approach just to give it a fair try.

            2. Two thoughts:

              1. See if you can get it from your local library first. I've checked out some books that I was thinking of buying, and when I actually cooked from them, i realized I didn't like them. The Frozen Dessert book was available neither through my local library nor through interlibrary loan, so I can't comment on it specifically.

              2. I would suggest you avoid "Ice Cream: The Whole Scoop." An amazon reviewer liked it better than the Liddell and Weir book, so i requested it through ILL. I think it's a really bizarre book with a totally unclear organizational structure to it. Plus, it suggests using gelatin in a lot of its recipes, which just don't seem right to me.

              Good luck!


              1 Reply
              1. re: Smokey

                Thanks for the scoop on The Whole Scoop, smokey. I saw that reviewer's comment and thought I should hunt it down, but it doesn't sound worth it. I'm going to make some requests from my library, but like you, my library doesn't carry Frozen Desserts. Let us know if you come across a winning book!

              2. Screw it even if there is one out there - are they nearly as entertaining as we are? Or as fast with the pics as you are? I think not.

                I say me, you, Smokey, Carb Lover, and curiousbaker write our own.

                We could cover the ups as well as the downs, which I think makes for more interesting reading (oooh, and pics of the 'downs' would be FANTASTIC).

                I can see it now:

                "What I ended up with was a soupy mass of formless chocolate - Ok, I made a really involved milkshake but it tastes great!!!" (Insert pick of me slurping with a straw)

                We could cover all the bases: non-fat, low-fat, double fat, no egg, with eggs, cooked, non-cooked, gelato (and our quest to figure out what the hell gelato is) etc.

                I'd buy it.

                4 Replies
                1. re: krissywats

                  Oh, I love it! carb Lover will definitely need to be the artistic director. I'm too embarassed to photograph and post any of my creations next to her incredible plating.


                  1. re: smokey

                    Thanks for the nomination, smokey, but we are all artists in our own way here! My photos aren't meant to make others sheepish about posting their photos. In fact, I hope the opposite. I have my own way of plating, and I hope that you and others will be proud to share yours! I hope that photos on CH will be more the norm than the minority one day. Photos or no photos, keep experimenting!

                    1. re: Carb Lover

                      Here here! I love all the photos that are popping up on this board. Nothing pisses me off more than a cookbook without photos. How am I supposed to eat with my eyes if there are no glossy photos?! And even food that's not plated perfectly can look darned tasty. We need a combination of funny and refined photos, I say.

                      Incidentally, you know you've been spending too much time on the home cooking board when you walk into your co-worker's office with a paper cup and he says "Oh no, what did you make THIS time? You are the worst (news for his diet)." I suspect his complaining is just a way to try and burn more calories.

                      1. re: nooodles

                        'We need a combination of funny and refined photos, I say.'


                        EXACTLY! I would love to see funny food photos w/ a totally different style from mine. Also would love to see pics of people interacting w/ their food since that's what great food is all about! Things like doctor mama's kids hand-cranking the Donvier and so forth. Alas, I'm too camera shy to even have my pinky finger in the photo. :-)