Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is currently the talk of Twitter, with her cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home from Artisan Books, not far behind. As I’m not normally one for shipping ice cream, I was more than ready to give the book a shot.
This book is gorgeous – each recipe includes a picture of a spoonful of the finished product, and mixed in are profiles on vendors Jeni’s uses, like their supplier of Ugandan vanilla (I want a kilo of them) and Askinosie chocolate.
Topping options and photos of sundae creations are included for further inspiration. And the ice cream options themselves just rock, from pineapple piment d’espelette to black coffee, and are sorted by season.
As strawberries are finally in season here in Seattle, I decided to try making the roasted strawberry & buttermilk ice cream.
The recipe itself was straightforward. All the recipes in the book actually follow the same format: make a cornstarch slurry, cook the milk/cream blend, add the slurry and flavorings, chill, then finish in the ice cream machine. This is a case where I highly, highly recommend following the pot size advised – a three quart pot would have boiled over. And while I made a complete mess setting things up, the cooling time for the custard in the ice bath let me reduce some of the kitchen disaster before I finished without feeling rushed.
As for the ice cream itself, it was smooth and creamy, and scooped easily. I just wished the strawberry flavor was a bit more evident. What I created was a delicate strawberry ice cream, closer to a perfume than sugary boldness, which was helped by the smooth buttermilk. I really want to buy a few pints from Jeni’s and compare to the source – my strawberries were ridiculously ripe, and simply may have not roasted enough. I’ve still happily eaten three sundaes worth of it already.
My main challenge was that I wish the recipes came with weight measurements in grams as well as US cups. Being the dessert nerd that I am, this is a frequent quibble I have with most of the home cookbooks on the market – using my scale speeds up cleaning later, and it’s more accurate. I get that not everyone has $40 to spend on a scale, but it would be a nice touch.
Even with my delicate strawberry ice cream, this cookbook is a fantastic resource, easy to use, and something I’ll drag out first the next time I feel inspired for something cold and summery.
Now I just need some of that Ugandan vanilla.
You can buy Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home on Amazon.com.