Cookbook Review: The Perfect Scoop, Revised and Updated by David Lebovitz

Note: I received a digital advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love David Lebovitz. He's a rarity, someone who is as talented of a writer as he is a pastry chef, and his books are a joy to read. His passion for food just leaps off the page. So when I got approved for an ARC for his revised and updated version of the Perfect Scoop, I was over the moon. Especially since this book is currently on my wedding registry, and it was a stroke of luck that I should get a preview.

I've heard the original edition of The Perfect Scoop referred to as the bible for ice cream. I've never actually read it myself, as I've never taken the leap and bought my own ice cream maker, but as both a shiny new ice cream maker and this book are on my wedding registry, I'm now counting the minutes. Without the chance to test a recipe yet, I can't vouch for the quality of the recipes myself, but I have heard from every corner of the food blogiverse that his recipes are top-notch. The selection alone in this book is staggering, and I doubt you would need another ice cream book after buying this one.

Split into chapters named "Ice Creams, Frozen Yogurts, and Gelatos", "Sorbets and Sherbets", "Granitas", "Sauces and Toppings", "Mix-Ins", and "Vessels", the book covers a wide variety of frozen desserts, as well as all the fun sugary creations that can top, be mixed in, or encase these desserts. Each chapter is loaded with recipes that range from classic American favorites (Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, S'mores Ice Cream) to French-inspired recipes reflecting his residence in Paris (Creme Fraiche Ice Cream, Raspberry-Champagne Sorbet) to new and exciting flavors that reflect his pastry chef credentials (Orange Szechuan Pepper Ice Cream, Roquefort-Honey Ice Cream). The options range from simple to sophisticated, and I can see any number of these served as a finale to a fancy dinner party, or enjoyed just as thoroughly straight out of the pint.

Most useful are the little notes at the end of the recipe where he suggests variations to his recipes that can create new flavors entirely, or explains his favorite ways of serving each flavor, whether that's paired alongside another complementary flavor or served in sundae form, such as sprinkled with homemade peanut brittle and topped with a decadent drizzle of homemade hot fudge. I also loved his little blurbs before each recipe, which reflect his trademark writing style. Erudite and worldly, but still self-deprecating. He has so many little stories about embarrassing or memorable situations that have inspired these recipes, and they make the book feel so personal and special. Every cookbook writer should read his books to get a feel for the kind of cookbook that readers will remember and return to.

The photos of his ice cream creations are gorgeous, and the layout crisp and practical. The organization makes sense, and it is easy to move back and forth through the book to find the recipe you're looking for. I can't say how this compares to the original since I've never read the original, but in the intro, he does mention that he updated many of his recipes and added a dozen or so new ones.

This will definitely be a buy for me, and I can't wait to test my ice cream creations out on my friends! Thanks, David Lebovitz and everyone involved with the publication of this, for another excellent cookbook.

Overall Rating: An enthusiastic 5/5 stars

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