Okay, so remember how I made my own Mother’s Day brunch? Right. Well… I have a confession to make. I also bought my own Mother’s Day gift. A bit strange, and perhaps more than a bit self-indulgent, I admit. But here’s the thing: I almost never buy anything for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I like to shop. But shopping takes time. Alone time, away from kids and work. And that’s something I just don’t have a lot of. So when I do buy something – especially if that something is not really a necessity – you know I really want it.
And this ice cream maker? I’ve been really, really wanting one for a long time.
And then one day the week before Mother’s Day, I saw this post from dessert guru David Lebovitz, announcing that his popular ice cream book was available in soft-cover. Which led me to browse a popular internet bookstore, where I happened upon the same book in hard cover… on sale. Which led me to this ice cream maker, which also just happened to be on sale… for more than half off. It was as if the stars had aligned. Before I could talk myself out of it, both the book and the machine were added to my online cart, and faster than you can say, “cup or cone?” they were being shipped to my door.
My 8 year-old son was a little taken aback when he first heard I had bought myself a present. “Mommy, you’re supposed to let us buy your Mother’s Day gifts! What’d you get, anyway?” An ice cream maker, I responded. He grinned. “Awesome!” I think he was okay with it after that.
When the boxes arrived, I was giddy with excitement. “You know,” my husband said, “if I had known you wanted an ice cream maker this badly, I would have gotten one for you.” I know, sweetie. I love you for that. And I also love that when your crazy wife wants to buy her own Mother’s Day gift and make her own Mother’s Day brunch, you just shake your head, smile, and let me.
The Book: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
This book exceeded my expectations, which were pretty high. Visually, it’s big and beautiful. The full-page photos have a dreamy quality that, impossibly, makes the already delicious-looking desserts even more alluring. The recipes (from simple classics like Vanilla and Chocolate to sophisticated innovations like Pear-Pecorino Ice Cream and Apple Ginger Sorbet) are thoughtfully laid out by category: ice creams, sorbets/sherbets and granitas. The author opens the book by covering the “basics” of frozen dessert-making, ingredients and equipment in a thorough, easily understandable manner. As a novice ice cream maker, I really appreciated this extra step, especially since such basic concepts are sorely lacking in many cookbooks. As an added bonus, Mr. Lebovitz includes numerous recipes for sauces & toppings, mix-ins, and vessels. From the aesthetics to the content, The Perfect Scoop is a perfectly wonderful resource for beginners and experienced cooks alike.
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
The coconut milk makes this recipe more luscious and creamy than most sorbets. Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is completely frozen (I recommend 24 hours), and that your sorbet mixture is very, very cold. Otherwise, you’ll end up with chocolate-coconut soup, and you’ll have to re-freeze the bowl and re-chill the mixture, before finally re-churning it into the most incredible sorbet… the next day. I speak from experience, can you tell?
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
8 ounces (230 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) Thai coconut milk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, stir the water, sugar and salt together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the coconut milk and the vanilla. If there are lumps of coconut milk that stubbornly refuse to mesh with the rest of the mixture (like mine did), whiz briefly in a blender until smooth.
Chill the mixture in a covered container until thoroughly cold, several hours (I chilled mine overnight). Whisk the mixture briefly before churning, and freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Makes about 1 quart (1 liter).
* Chaokoh is one brand I really like. You want to look for unsweetened coconut milk, not coconut cream or (as Mr. Lebovitz points out in his book) Coco Lopez, both of which are extremely sweet and not suitable for this recipe.
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