David Lebovitz’s blog is distinguished for the quality of the writing and the stories he tells (not to mention the romantic setting). His book about ice creams and sorbets, The Perfect Scoop, is a straightforward cookbook, unadorned by story but with his personality is clear in the writing and extensive, helpful headnotes (which are the bane of any cookbook author’s life). Photography is excellent without calling attention to itself, and the recipes (including those for things like spiced pecans and numerous sauces) are clear and complete. I made his basic chocolate and also his malted milk ice cream (recipe below). I’ve always had a problem with texture—my ice cream has always been a little icy and my wife, Donna, wrinkles her nose and says what she does about home made pasta (“OK, Michael, but is it really worth it?”). Probably because of the high fat content, David’s ice cream impressed even my wife. He’s got a perfect basic custard technique (6 yolks : 3 cups milk/cream). I haven’t tried any of the non-custard recipes; a commenter on the previous post said he was disappointed in the flavor of the roasted banana ice cream. It uses only milk, so it’s pretty low fat. Not normally the way I like to go (which is high fat, and throw in some candy garnish!). I’d try the plum ice cream; that uses cream but no yolks, and the avocado—I’m curious about about the flavor and how the fat-rich avocado works as ice cream.
All in all, I’d be surprised to learn that there’s a better ice cream book that’s out there. Will I do the basil ice cream? Not likely. But the green tea? Maybe. The bourbon pecan? That’s in the batters box, right after the malted milk ice cream is gone. Which should be this afternoon.
I’m not much of a sweets person, but I can’t keep my hands off a vanilla malt, a concoction that’s been sadly ignored in America over the past few decades. That he thought to do a malted ice cream makes me love this book (recipe below). That it tastes so good is a delight. David’s malted milk ice cream is … what? ... I feel like a kid again as I eat it.
Malted Milk Ice Cream
About 1 ½ quarts (1 ½ liters)
I froze lots and lots and lots of ice cream when writing this book. It was a treat having freshly-made ice cream every day, but space in my freezer soon became an issue and after more than one frozen 'brick' of ice cream slipped out, which I always seemed to just narrowly avoid crashing down on my foot, I eventually realized that it was impossible (and a little dangerous) to coexist with too many flavors all at once. Consequently, I passed off lots of ice cream to friends, neighbors, local shopkeepers, and occasionally, a startled delivery man. All were more than happy to take a quart off my hands. But this Malted Milk Ice Cream was the one that I refused to part with, and I guarded it secretively, saving it all for myself.
The recipe calls for malt powder which is usually found in the ice cream aisle of your supermarket. But sometimes it’s stocked alongside chocolate drink mixes like Ovaltine, which isn’t the same thing and shouldn't be used here. Most common brands of malt powder are Carnation and Horlicks. (See Resources (page 000) for online sources.)
1 cup (250 ml) half-and-half
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup (90 g) malt powder
6 large egg yolks
2 cups (350 g) malted milk balls, coarsely chopped
Warm the half-and-half with the sugar in a medium saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla, and malt powder. Set a mesh strainer on top.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof plastic spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and whisk it into the malted milk mixture. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped malted milk balls.