This post is a review of the cookbook Hello, My Name is Ice Cream by Dana Cree.
The cover of the book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream (find it on Amazon) immediately caught my eye. It wasn't the scoops of ice cream that grabbed my attention, surprise, surprise, it was the "structural" doodles behind the ice cream scoops (ice crystal structures?). Also, the subtitle The Art and Science of the Scoop had me intrigued.
The book is divided into three big sections:
- The Knowledge
- The Recipes
- Composed Scoops
I bought this book for "The Knowledge" because I know for a fact that there's a lot of science behind churning ice cream that I am not very familiar with. For example, there's a reason why you churn ice cream as opposed to just freezing ice cream base straight in a container in the freezer, one shot: it all has to do with the size of the ice crystals (or at least mostly). Achieving tiny ice crystals that are indiscernible on the palette is what we want.
Until reading this book, I'd never thought about the emulsion behind every ice cream and how delicate that mix is, prone to separate if not made correctly or handled properly. Exploring the pages of this book helped me better understand all the ingredients that go into ice cream, the ingredients we are familiar with, like milk, cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, and those we are not, like commercial stabilizers, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, etc. Turns out that all those "other ingredients" you might notice on the average commercial ice cream label play a crucial role.
The book also has a fantastic appendix on ratios, specifically functional ratios and working ratios, how to calculate them, and how to apply them so that you can create your own ice creams at home. I'm particularly excited about the appendix because you know how much I love ratios!
My only issue with this book is the way the recipes are laid out, specifically when it comes to the "texture agents" (the stabilizers) and when to add them. When I first got the book in July, I spent a lot of time reading the book and hanging out with it, and so at that point, I understood when to add the texture agents and what all the little numbers in the recipe directions meant. Of course, three months later, when I finally went to use the book, all was forgotten.
One of the recipes I tested was for popcorn ice cream. When I made the base I forgot to add the texture agent (tapioca starch was my texture agent of choice). Luckily, I hadn't churned the ice cream yet. My ice cream was at the curing stage in the fridge though, so I had to reheat the mixture to add the tapioca starch (my texture agent of choice), then I let it cool and I cured it again, overnight. This worked well, thankfully, but I'd imagine the way the texture agents are mentioned in the recipe may lead to some confusion.
On the other hand, I am pointing this out knowing fully well that it is NOT easy to write clear recipes and given there are four options per recipe, it is even harder to convey the method. Perhaps had I paid more attention and reread the recipe carefully before jumping in, I'd have done it right the first time... Who knows?
Wanna buy a copy of the book? Head over to Amazon to get yours! It's a keeper!
I used an old Krups La Glacière ice cream maker to churn this batch of popcorn ice cream, but it is no longer in production. Dana Cree (and many others) recommends this Cuisinart model that you can get on Amazon. If I had the budget, I'd probably invest in this Breville model (available on Amazon), which comes with a built in compressor so that you can avoid having to chill an ice cream drum for 24 hours. This machine chills itself!
Please note that this post is a review of the cookbook Hello, My Name is Ice Cream by Dana Cree with a popcorn ice cream recipe from the book, reproduced with permission from the publisher. I purchased the book on Amazon and you can to here.
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