The self-proclaimed “Ultimate Ice Cream Book” is stated to contain over 500 recipes for ice cream, sherbert, sorbet, granita, drinks and more, but this number is extremely misleading; there are really several basic bases (chocolate, vanilla, various fruits) with extensive lists of flavor variations.
As other reviewers have pointed out, it feels like the book was largely padded by large sections of cut-and-paste text; each recipe repeats the same basic instructions ad nauseam, and the simple line-drawing graphics repeat themselves as well. Many of the “flavor variations” overlap with other recipes: for example, there is a cherry chocolate nut listed under Philadelphia-style cherry ice cream, and separate entries for chocolate cherry ice cream and chocolate cherry cordial ice cream, a cherry chocolate malt, etc. that are simply variations of the same basic recipe. For example, the marmalade ice cream recipe lists seven variations, all of which contain “use (fruit) jam and (fruit)liqueur or (fruit) syrup. Is that really worth its own page?
Most of the ice creams are French, or custard, style and contain eggs, although there are several Philadelphia-style ice creams that rely on cream and sugar, not eggs, though they are less rich. If you were hoping for gelato, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen has an entire chapter devoted to gelato, sorbetto and semifreddo.
Also, some of the flavor combinations verged on the improbable side for my taste buds: butter fruitcake? Corn? Cashew and red pepper? Chestnut and candied fruit? Cinnamon basil? Hmm. These aren’t something I’d make on a regular basis. However, other variations such as cinnamon harvest (cinnamon ice cream with granola, raisins, and nutmeg), mango ginger, and rum raisin sounded promising.
The selection of sorbets and granitas included unusual veggie ideas such as beet, carrot, cucumber, and tomato that would make a perfect first course on a hot summer’s day. Also included are suggested toppings (various nut and fudge sauces) and making your own cones and meringue shells.
Overall, this is a good basic starting point if you’re brand-new to ice cream making. You can also find numerous free recipes online at sites like Allrecipes (user-rated recipes). Final verdict: worth a look, but feels overpriced. Be sure to check out Williams-Sonoma Collection: Ice Cream (Williams-Sonoma Collection (New York, N.Y.).), Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book and Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments to round out your collection.