Sorbets and Ice Creams
by Lou Seibert Pappas
1997. 96 pages, 50 recipes.
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"Ice cream and carts have turned up at unexpected places in my travels. A peach ice was heavenly after a tour of the Turkish ruins of Ephesus..., a cassis and gingerbread ice cream was a delightful surprise at a Munich beer hall..., and garlic ice cream was a unique experience at the Gilroy Garlic Festival."
Caramel Swirl Ice Cream
"Luscious" is the word that captures the essence of ice cream for me. Luscious also describes Lou Seibert Pappas' Sorbets and Ice Creams and Other Frozen Confections. Its pages are thick and creamy; the photographs are rich and voluptuous. And like good ice cream, this is a book you don't want to hurry through.
Rather than an exhaustive compilation of recipes, this is a personal collection (and recollection) of an ice cream connoisseur who has loved the luscious stuff ever since she was a child and "...churning ice cream was a Sunday ritual." The fifty recipes range from the pristine (lemon ice) to the rococo (a coffee bean ice cream with bittersweet fudge sauce). Classic flavors like peppermint, rum raisin, and peach are well represented here. I would have welcomed a few more recipes that were further off the beaten track.
Besides ice creams, sorbets, frozen yogurts, gelatos, and granitas, Pappas includes a section on parfaits, mousses, and bombes. (If you're sketchy on their differentiations, check out her glossary of terms.) From her brief sections covering ice cream's history and its kitchen chemistry I learned that ice cream's earliest predecessor may have been a Chinese "sno cone" in ll00 B.C. I also learned that cream, milk, and eggs make ice cream creamy (and explains why sorbets are grainier).
I have gravitated to the book's fruit themes. Pappas' Mango Gelato took me back to a summer night in Rome a few years ago; it was so hot that the cobblestones were radiating day's accumulated heat through the soles of my sandals. Just when my husband, daughter, and I felt unrevivable, we stumbled upon what turned out to be the most popular (and most crowded) gelateria in Rome. I ordered a mango gelato. It was so absolutely cold and refreshing, more exquisite than even the best mango ever could be, that I have always used that as the yardstick by which to measure all other gelato. Pappas' recipe came very close.
Some people say the bread machine changed their lives. The ice cream maker changed mine. I had no idea the technology had come so far since the days of hand-churning. (My Krups model requires all the elbow grease it takes to flip the "on" switch.) It was a real revelation to discover that making superb ice cream doesn't require much time or special talent. Dinner guests are always impressed when I serve it, as if ice-cream making were some lost domestic skill like making candles or butchering chickens. I love trying out new ice cream recipes that get compliments like, "This is better than the best Ben & Jerry's".
Home-made ice cream is a scene stealer. A few months ago I ended a dinner party with Pappas' Caramel Swirl Ice Cream. Once my guests tasted it, they immediately forgot about the tender pork loin, the wild rice pilaf, and the roast asparagus that preceded it.