A Year in Ice Cream: THE PERFECT SCOOP

Bookfairs Manager Ellen celebrates our favorite summer treat with the help of David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop!

For a little over a year, I have asked my family members what flavor of ice cream or sorbet they want me to make for their birthday. I do this in lieu of a gift because none of us need more stuff. (Other than books. We all need more books.) Food is one my favorite gifts to receive, so naturally, I like to give food as gifts. 

9780399580314My go-to book for ice cream inspiration and how-to is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. If you are not familiar with David Lebovitz, he is a former chef at Chez Panisse and an award-winning pastry chef. He has written several books, from memoirs of life in Paris, to cookbooks. I am also a fan of his blog and Instagram, both of which are food & drink focused but are delightfully full of his own personality and humor. He will make you want to go to Paris and buy everything at the farmer markets, dine at every bistro, make your own plum jam, and take a stroll while nibbling on the end of just baked baguette.

Lebovitz is not only great at describing food and life in Paris, but he’s also really, really good with ice cream. I’ve made a number of the recipes from The Perfect Scoop and not one has been a failure. Sure, not all were to my taste, and one or two I might have underchurned, but that’s all on me. What I love about ice cream, other than it is so yummy, is that once you have the basics down, you can get creative with it or tweak it so the flavor is what you want. 

The Perfect Scoop includes recipes that run the ice cream gamut from classics like Vanilla and Chocolate to the more unusual like Green Pea and Orange-Szechwan Pepper. It also has sections on sorbets, granitas, toppings, and mix-ins. It’s full of variety so there is sure to be something, probably more than one something, to suit everyone.

In the past year, I have made the following ice creams for birthdays and family holidays: 

  • Chocolate-Raspberry
  • Coffee + chocolate chunks
  • Peanut Butter + chocolate chips + honey caramel sauce (using my dad’s locally harvested honey)
  • Tin Roof
  • Strawberry w/o seeds (!) + strawberry sauce
  • Coconut + dark chocolate chips
  • Lime (sorbet)
  • Eggnog
  • Peppermint Stick
Mint steeping for fresh mint chocolate chip
Mint seeping for fresh mint chocolate chip

My personal favorite is Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip but no one else cared for it, the complaint being it was too minty. Granted, I did use about twice the recommended amount of fresh mint because I love it, soooooo . . . . . My dad liked it, but he pretty much likes anything. 

To keep track of what I’ve made, I write in the book who I made it for and the year. My taped-together much used copy has become a memory keeper of our family celebrations. I add notes about the recipe for next time, ingredient substitutions, and measurements. If you don’t already write in your cookbooks, I encourage you to. Not only does it feel a little rebellious to write in a book, but it also helps remind you of things for the next time you make it. 

When I was looking for photos of the ice creams I’ve made, I didn’t really have any. I think that’s because we tend to eat it quickly before even thinking about getting a photo! There are some birthdays coming up in August. Rum Raisin and a boozy margarita variation of lime sorbet have been requested. I better get churning! 

Lebovitz’ newest book is Drinking French, which yes, I have purchased. Maybe next year, I’ll ask my family what cocktail they want instead!

-Ellen G., BookPeople Bookfairs Manager


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