America went through one of its many Ice Cream Awakenings in the late 70s. The world of the sleepy Good Humor truck trundling down the lazy-leafy streets of summer tintinabulating our youth like nothing Hamelin ever heard. Or the rival electronic yawp of over-modulated and worn tapes through terrible loudspeakers announcing the approach of Mister Softee. Even Tom Carvel sounded like a nightingale in comparison, with his frozen custards and a miracle of an instant hard shell of perfect chocolates' tight fitting jacket. Even Cadillac Breyers (of the genuine black specks of vanilla bean) and the giant Sealtest melted quickly. Pint-sized aliens with weird names of Alpen Zauber, Frusen Gladje and invincible Haagen-Dazs were insurgents (Brooklyn, Utica and Jersey), all were doped-up with butterfat, and deflated of air. Sundae would never be the same.
Truth is that America was always ice cream country. Old Line Philadelphia has bragged Bassetts since the Civil War. New York's Louis Sherry battled prohibition blues with his premium packed in beautiful tins.
Now, new waves of ice cream pump from home kitchens. Up from the hand crank and freed of rock salt, we are making ice cream like never before. Saloons like Seattle's Molly Moon publish sweet little recipe books. Theirs are quite good, but are in the fine American style only. I wanted more than recipes and more than one style. Where is India? And what of France? Same with Kopfer's top notch book on Italy's Gelato. Happy to have and to use both, but I wanted something broader and deeper, using these specialty books as they were intended. The Perfect Scoop is certainly important and Weinstein has a load of worthy recipes in his Ultimate book. Besides, there is no reason not to have five on the subject, unless you use a lame excuse like pleading sanity.
Then I found Old School Master Pastry Chef, Jan Hedh of Sweden - another S'cream crazed country. He has a legitimate (though by no means final) claim to the title he uses: "Ultimate Guide". Guide is the operative word here. This is the Chef I want paddling me over the Angel Falls of Ice Cream. This is the book for the serious fun lover. It is the Happy Swede whom ice cream he bleed. Ahem, sorry.
We get just enough chemistry to become artisanal, no, arterial menaces. Not too difficult, we get to know enough to make all those wondrous wicked alcoholic ice creams that otherwise sadly puddle. And eight additional pages of prep get you up to snuff better than any of the others on getting superior results first time out. Too many closets have a derelict churn at the bottom only because the enthusiastic gift-getters jumped right in with both feet and no background. Ho-hum results quickly blunt the spirit of those who would be intrepid ice cream makers if they could only taste what fresh immediate infusions of flavor can do.
Once into the recipes there is plenty of range. No, not the beef ice cream so popular in Argentina. But exotics like olive oil are silky resplendence with the lemon and the basil. Chef Hedh has florals - violet and lavender. Delicate cauliflower with lemon is ineffable. Many fruit sorbets and a new level of Viennese Ice Coffee line the road to parfait perdition.
Perhaps they did waste space with too many unhelpful photo spreads, but most pages in this large format are laid out with workable ideas. The late photos of more prurient productions like the banana split, love hearts and the grand Frozen Pudding Wedding Bomb redeem all. If some are a bit off-putting, remember that after you move a spoon or so out of your comfort range because of the striking results with what you think are familiar old standards, you might be grateful for new scoops to bound. You can churn your way through 200 before hitting ingredients like quark, which is a big hit with both sub atomic physicists and with Trekies, who chant together: Blessed are the Cheesemakers!
As we ought expect, the pastry chef in Jan cannot hide forever. Pistachio Hippenflarn are the floors between an anthology of stories of risotto ice cream. Here a St. Martin's Apple Cake and Calvados Parfait, there a Rhubarb or Blueberry Tarte and Mascarpone ice cream. While beet, lingonberry and cardamom are Swedish naturals, truffle over duck liver might seem like tough sledding. Until you see it is not sweet, but peppery with light and crunchy fleur-de-sel, doused with port and cognac.
This book will take you from beginner and keep you happy through advanced. And thank you for your patience.